After a blistering start to the 2021 season, the European Tour season moves an hour up the Persian Golf coast for the Dubai Desert Classic. Here’s everything you need to know…
Omega Dubai Desert Classic: The details
Venue: Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, UAE
Date: January 28-31, 2021
Course stats: Par 72; 7,353 yards
Course summary: Another exposed desert course with tree-lined Bermuda fairways and quick Bermuda greens. Players will need to negotiate with the wind, with numerous dogleg holes and water in play on 10 of the 18 holes. The rough here is often perilous, so finding the fairways will be an important factor for success.
Purse: $3.25 million
Defending champion: Lucas Herbert (-9)
Omega Dubai Desert Classic: TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 4am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 7.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 8.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8.30am
Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Who we’re backing
You can listen to me discuss my tips for the Dubai Desert Classic with Steve Carroll on this week’s episode of Dialled In from the NCG Podcast.
Otherwise keep scrolling for a brief overview of who I’m backing and why…
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Omega Dubai Desert Classic: Staking plan
Matt Wallace – 2pt e/w @ 25/1 with Bet365
Wallace had an excellent week in Abu Dhabi, securing 7th with four consecutive under-par rounds. He ranked inside the top 10 for SG: Putting and SG: Total. Wallace has now played his last three events in the UAE, with a runner-up finish at the Golf in Dubai Championship further justifying his selection here. Wallace was 2nd at this event in 2019, and should have no trouble managing the conditions as he has links form on windy courses in the UK. The Englishman will be looking to capitalise on his strong form of late, and add his first European Tour title since his phenomenal triple-win season in 2018.
Robert MacIntyre – 2pt e/w @ 28/1 with Bet365
After confessing to some rust in the first week of the new season, MacIntyre will surely reflect positively on his top-20 finish in Abu Dhabi. He also led the field in SG: Off-the-Tee, and ranked in the top-20 for SG: Tee-to-Green, on a course which often acts as a good indicator for success here. Twelve months ago, MacIntyre came back from a less than ideal start to secure an 8th place finish on his sole career visit. Managing the conditions if the winds blows shouldn’t be a problem for the Scotsman, evidenced by a top-10 finish in the Open Championship at a blustery Royal Portrush in 2019.
MacIntyre was right there after 54 holes at the DP World Tour Championship in December, before eventually falling away to a 23rd place finish. Despite a final-round 77 costing him a potential Masters invite, that did make it three top-25 finishes in the UAE in 2020, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve again this week as he searches for a place in the world’s top 50.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello – 1.5pt e/w @ 50/1 with Bet365
Following on from his best performance in recent memory, Cabrera Bello represents great value this week. His course form is encouraging, and goes a long way to alleviating concerns around his less than impressive form of 2020. The Spaniard won this event in 2012, in addition to securing two other top 10s and three top 20s. His resurgence in Abu Dhabi last week saw him finish 4th and rank inside the top-20 for SG: Tee-to-Green, SG: Approach and SG: Putting. Currently outside the world’s top 100, Cabreba Bello will be desperate to regain some consistency, and this week’s event will surely represent a great opportunity to do just that on a course that he clearly likes.
Danny Willett – 1pt e/w @ 55/1 with Bet365
Willett is often unpredictable, and not a player I frequently consider when researching golf events. Despite this I am feeling confident about his chances next week, especially after an encouraging 68 to finish T16 in Abu Dhabi. Willett won this event in 2016, and has also won the DP World Tour Championship in 2018. On a track with multiple dogleg holes, often favouring a right to left shot shape, Willett has more pedigree than most as a previous Masters Champion. The Englishman had a solid week on the greens in Abu Dhabi, ranking inside the top 10 for SG: Putting, and if he can carry that over to this week he represents good each-way value.
For more prices, visit Bet365.