Who will be crowned European No 1 as the 2021 Race to Dubai comes to a close? Barry Plummer has everything you need to know
It’s the last ever European Tour event ever! From next week, when the new season gets underway in South Africa, it will be known as the DP World Tour. And while Jon Rahm has decided to stay away from the DP World Tour Championship – the World No 1 has cited a year that has “taken a lot out of me” as his reason – and therefore forfeited his chances of Race to Dubai glory, there are still plenty of storylines to keep us interested. Rory McIlroy and Open champion Collin Morikawa are among those teeing up at Jumeirah, so who do I fancy to come out on top come Sunday?
DP World Tour Championship details
Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates (Earth Course), UAE
Date: November 18-21 2021
Course stats: Par 72; 7,676 yards
Course summary: A long desert track with forgiving fairways and large Bermuda grass greens, the Earth course boasts strategically placed water hazards and close to 100 bunkers to give players plenty to think about. For those who navigate safely there will be plenty of opportunities to attack the greens. An explosive finish is expected down the closing stretch on Sunday, with the island green par-3 17th and the notorious risk-reward par-5 18th sure to be crucial in the outcome.
Purse: €7.7 million
Defending champion: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-15)
DP World Tour Championship TV coverage
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 6am and Sky Sports Main Event from 7am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 7am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 7am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 7am
DP World Tour Championship betting tips
Bazza’s Banker: Tommy Fleetwood @ 20/1 with bet365
Fleetwood has had a solid season without really setting the world alight. The Englishman would be a popular winner of this event, and with his recent form looking strong it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise. Fleetwood arrives at the Earth Course after five top-15 finishes in his last six events. Within that impressive run, a second-place finish at the Italian Open and a recent 7th at the Zozo Championship in Japan really stand out. His course form is just as appealing, with a second place and two top-10 finishes in his last five visits to this event.
The numbers also continue to make a strong case for a Fleetwood win being just around the corner. On the European Tour this season, Fleetwood ranks 1st for SG: Total, 12th for SG: Approach and 15th for SG: Putting. With those sorts of stats it is no wonder why he frequently performs well here, and I can see him following in the footsteps of fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick in taking home the season-ending title.
The Each-Way Play: Garrick Higgo @ 60/1 with bet365
It would be hard to dispute that Higgo is one of the most exciting talents to come out of this season, and despite a run of poor form recently I can see him raising his game this week at a big price. With two European Tour wins and a maiden PGA Tour win in quick succession this year, Higgo has demonstrated time and time again how much quality he possesses. A T14 finish in this event last year will have given the young South African some crucial course experience, and interestingly that performance also came off the back of a similarly poor run of form.
Higgo certainly ticks the boxes in terms of statistics – ranking 9th for Driving Distance, 36th for Greens-in-regulation and 1st for SG: Putting this season on the European Tour. He will need another big push in the right direction in order to shake off the rust, but at a big price that is a chance I am willing to take.
The Longshot: Calum Hill @ 125/1 with bet365
I have spoken on a number of occasions this year about the consistency and strength in Hill’s game, and this could be the time he announces himself fully on the world stage. Hill achieved his first European Tour win earlier in the season, taking the Cazoo Classic in August, and based on his statistics alone he appears to represent some each-way value.
A 4th place finish in Saudi Arabia at the start of the season suggests he knows how to play golf on a desert landscape, while four top-5s and seven top-10s speak for his undoubted potential. The Scotsmen currently ranks 9th for SG: Total, 3rd for Birdie Average and 7th for Bogey Avoidance this season, so should provide plenty to be excited about if he makes it to the weekend.
Who will win the Race to Dubai?
In all likelihood, barring an abysmal performance from Collin Morikawa, I can’t see anyone stealing the crown from the current Race to Dubai leader.
With Jon Rahm out of contention that leaves just Billy Horschel, Tyrrell Hatton and Min Woo Lee in with a mathematical chance of taking the trophy from the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Having played just nine events in the competition, winning two of them, Morikawa is likely to become the first Non-European to win since Ernie Els in 2004 – and the first American winner ever.
For more prices, visit bet365.
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