Former winner Casey is worth considering, but unless he improves on a poor recent birdie conversion rate with the putter, he could get left behind. Miguel-Angel Jimenez, 2nd and 5th previously on this course, very nearly made the staking plan and will frustrate me immensely if he wins. As for Jeev Milkha Singh, everything in his recent form points to another strong week, but two poor previous failures round here were hard to explain as they came off similarly strong runs.
 
Of the trio of high-class Australian raiders from the PGA Tour, I much prefer Rod Pampling to Robert Allenby or Aaron Baddeley. The last-named hasn’t been anywhere near his best for ages, while Allenby seems to have lost the ability to win having once been one of the game’s great finishers. Indeed, over the winter period, he seemed to have swapped places with former perennial loser Pampling in this regard. Again, Pampling was very nearly selected.
 
Others to consider include former course runner-up Peter Hanson, who regularly contends but rarely wins. Or there’s non-winner Alex Noren, who has ideal target golf conditions. Fellow Swede Johan Edfors is another who thrives in such conditions when the putter catches fire.
 
Likewise, promising Spaniards Pablo Larrazabal or Rafael Cabrera-Bello came in for consideration on a course where their attacking prowess can be utilised, but they were squeezed out of the staking plan by their compatriot ALVARO QUIROS. It was hard not to be impressed with the temperament Quiros displayed for either of his previous Euro Tour wins, both in the last 13 months. Still only 25, he hits the ball extreme distances off the tee, and could go very low around this vulnerable course. 17th place last year was no disgrace either, for a player who is improving fast.
 
ADVISED BETS
 
ABU DHABI CHAMPIONSHIP
 
4pts win PADRAIG HARRINGTON @ 12/1 (GENERAL, 13/1 SKYBET)
2.5pts ew RORY MCILROY @ 20/1 (GENERAL)
2.5pts ew MARTIN KAYMER @ 20/1 (GENERAL, 22/1 BLUESQ)
2pts ew ROSS FISHER @ 30/1 (BOYLES, PADDY POWER, SKYBET)
1pt ew ALVARO QUIROS @ 70/1 (PADDY POWER, SKYBET, VCBET, HILLS)
 
Where next?
 
More betting: Sony Open betting guide
Tour news: Abu Dhabi Golf Championship preview
Equipment: New gear for 2009
Gallery: Race to Dubai favourites