The European Tour heads to Dubai this week for the final event of the season where the winner of the season-long Race to Dubai will be crowned.
Although not in with a shout of winning the overall title, Lee Westwood is an obvious favourite for the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, which is being played on the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai.
Ladbrokes have him listed as the pre-tournament favourite at 5/1. Looking at his form around this track, coupled with his comfortable win in South Africa last week it is easy to see why.
Westwood finished in third place last year and won the tournament in 2009 to seal the inaugural Race to Dubai.
All the talk this week centres on the battle between Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald. McIlroy won last week in Hong Kong to keep the pressure on Donald but will have to beat a stronger field here to even have an outside chance of overtaking the Englishman.
The Irishman has a strong record here with a fifth-place finish last year and a third place finish in 2009. However, reports this morning suggest McIlroy has picked up an illness. That’s enough for me to swerve him this week despite his win in Hong Kong but if you think he can go back-to-back, he is at 6/1.
At 10/1, Luke Donald is at slightly longer odds than usual but with the strength of the field, his record here doesn’t really stack up in comparison and it is easy to see why he is slightly longer odds than McIlroy and Westwood.
I think we could well have an English winner with either Paul Casey and Ian Poulter this week. Both have good records at the Earth Course and have started to come into some form.
Casey had a good week in the WGC-HSBC Champions last month with a fourth place finish and also came back from a poor first round to finish third in the Chevron World Challenge last week. He finished sixth here last year and at 16/1 is more appealing than some of the shorter priced players.
Poulter finished fourth in the UBS Hong Kong Open last week and 13th in the WGC-HSBC Champions. He lost in a playoff here to Robert Karlsson (20/1) last year and finished in ninth place in 2009 and is at 20/1 to win this year.
Kaymer doesn’t have the best record in this particular tournament but has won before in the Middle East and shouldn’t be overlooked at 14/1.
Another who shows appeal at the bigger price of 40/1 is Alvaro Quiros. He had a solid week in Hong Kong last week finishing seventh and came third here last year. He is one of my each-way tips this week.
With such a strong field it seems there are a few players at very long odds who couldn’t make an impact at the top of the leaderboard. Three-time winner in 2011 Thomas Bjorn is at 100/1 this week with South African Hennie Otto.
Otto won just two weeks ago in South Africa and looks a big price on the merit of that win. If you like a punt on some of the bigger prices I would suggest a small stake on one of these two.
Dubai World Championship betting guide and tips: