The DP World Tour's Middle East swing begins, as always, in Abu Dhabi. But there's a new course for Europe's finest to tackle. Barry Plummer has everything you need to know
After a stuttering start, the DP World Tour season finally gets properly underway at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. There’s a strong field in the Emirates this week, with the current Open and Race to Dubai champion playing second fiddle in the market to a familiar face – you guessed it – Rory McIlroy. With plenty of players at the top end who could win it, I have decided to delve a bit deeper and find some value picks for this week’s event. But before I get to my free golf betting tips…
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship details
Venue: Yas Links Golf Club, UAE
Date: January 20-20, 2022
Course stats: Par 72; 7,425 yards
Course summary: A new location for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Yas Links is situated on the popular Yas Island. Designed by Kyle Phillips, this links-style course brings a fusion of desert landscapes and tough playing conditions with the aim to test players to the maximum. With this being the inaugural event, it will be an interesting watch to see how the layout and the challenge fares against golf’s elite.
Defending champion: Tyrrell Hatton (-18)
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 3.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 3.30am and Sky Sports Main Event from 7am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 5am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 5am
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship golf betting Tips
Bazza’s Banker: Tommy Fleetwood- 3pt e/w @ 22/1 with bet365
I could easily make a case for the top three in the market, and I wouldn’t talk anyone out of a bet on any of them. With that being said, in Fleetwood you are getting a desert specialist who appears to be returning to some sort of form. When you also consider that the Englishman, who has won this event twice previously, is more than double the price of McIlroy, Morikawa and Hovland, it really does become an appealing alternative bet.
Fleetwood has finished inside the top 30 on his last 10 visits to a desert course in this part of the world, with four of those coming in the top 10. His form at the end of 2021 also suggested progress, finishing 13th and 27th in back-to-back Dubai events. We know that this course requires precision from the tee and laser like irons, both of which fit the bill for Fleetwood. In 2021, he ranked 6th for SG: Tee-to-green on the European Tour, and 2nd for Greens-in-regulation and SG: Total over the season. With a bit of value in this bet, don’t discount his chances of a sixth European/DP World Tour title.
The Each-Way Play: Robert MacIntyre – 1.5pt e/w @ 40/1 with bet365
From one desert expert to another, MacIntyre is quickly developing a taste for golf in this part of the world. Since bursting onto the scene when tied 14th at the DP World Tour Championship in 2019, the Scotsman has only finished once outside the top 30 in nine visits to a desert style track. His recent form is also incredibly encouraging, finishing fourth in the DP World Tour Championship in his most recent outing.
MacIntyre was 16th in this event last season, finishing well after a slow start. He will be looking to improve on that and claim a first Rolex Series event title.
His figures suggest he has a great chance to do that, ranking 16th last season for SG: Off-the-tee and 25th for Greens-in-regulation. The wind shouldn’t be too much of an issue for him, and while he will have to put in one of his best performances to date, he has a solid chance at a big price.
The Longshot: Rafa Cabrera-Bello – 0.5pt e/w @ 80/1 with bet365
What a season 2021 was for Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who finally returned to the winners’ circle at the Open de Espana. A 4th-place finish in this event last season suggests he likes this style of golf, which is further confirmed by the fact he has finished in the top-25 of this event seven times in the last 10 years.
That type of consistency makes him a specialist, and with a recent win under his belt he could be very dangerous.
One of the strengths of the Spaniard’s performance is his short game. In 2021, Rafa ranked 8th for Scrambling and 6th for One-putts using a Spanish flair and creativity that we are so used to seeing from the world’s greatest.
Cabrera-Bello already has a win in the desert, winning in Dubai back in 2012, so I am sure he will be looking to convert his quality course form into another DP World Tour win.
For more prices, visit bet365.