Half of the European Tour is in Dubai as players look to nab a spot in next week's Tour Championship. Here's everything you need to know
It’s an intriguing week on the European Tour as two events run side by side – the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship, which starts on Wednesday and finishes on Saturday, and the South African Open in the regular Thursday-Sunday slot. Both offer the same prize money and Race to Dubai points ahead of next week’s season-ending Tour Championship, so it’s certainly going to be interesting regardless of which side of the planet you’re on…
Golf in Dubai Championship: The details
Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates (Fire course), Dubai, UAE
Date: December 2-5, 2020
Course stats: Par 72; 7,480 yards
Course summary: A new tournament and a new course – albeit at a familiar venue – for the European Tour this week. The Fire course has a linksy feel, with undulating fairways that are exposed to wind. The greens are well-protected with strategic bunkering, so finding the fairway from the tee will be important. Four par-fives, including the 18th, will surely give players opportunities to play aggressive golf and could make for an interesting finish come Saturday.
Purse: $1.2 million
Defending champion: N/A (inaugural event)
Golf in Dubai Championship: TV coverage
Wednesday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 7am and again from 11am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 6.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30am
Golf in Dubai Championship: Staking plan
Rasmus Hojgaard – 1.5pt e/w @ 40/1 with bet365
There are not many more exciting talents in world golf than Hojgaard, and what a year it has been for him. After securing his first European Tour win earlier this year, and making his debut in the US Open, Hojgaard will no doubt have grown as a professional and be ready to tackle the latter stages of the Race to Dubai. Recent form looks bleak in comparison to his 2-6-3-1 streak during the UK Swing in the summer, however encouragement comes in the form of a top-40 finish on his PGA Tour debut in Bermuda. Hojgaard ranks 2nd for SG: Tee-to-Green in that category, and that will be important here. Excellent approach play will set up plenty of birdie opportunities and if the putter gets hot this could prove to be a huge price for this top talent.
Jordan Smith – 1pt e/w @ 60/1 with bet365
One of life’s many mysteries is how Smith hasn’t won more than one European Tour title in his career so far. A player with undoubted talent, Smith has been so consistent at this level and it will pay to be on him when everything clicks. Something tells me that could be this week, as he seems a great fit for a course that requires excellence from the tee and strong approach play. The Englishman ranks 11th for SG: Off-the-Tee and 3rd for GIR on tour, hitting a whopping 73% on average. The putter is so often the catalyst for Smith’s failure, but with his excellent play from tee to green he will give himself plenty of opportunities again. Sitting just inside the top 60 on the Race to Dubai he will be looking for a good week here, and at a reasonable price he definitely represents strong each-way value on a track that should suit.
Sebastian Heisele – 1pt e/w @ 110/1 with bet365
Heisele arrives in Dubai this week after flying under the radar recently. Consistent is the word that I would use to describe the German’s recent performances, with all the stats pointing to him having another good week here. Heisele currently ranks 13th in SG: Off-the-Tee, 32nd for GIR, and 54th for SG: Putting, while also boasting a run of 10 consecutive under par rounds in his last three events. A recent fourth in Italy demonstrates he has the ability to mix it at the top of the leaderboard, and at a huge price I cannot ignore him for each-way value.
For more prices, visit bet365.