The emerging German superstar thoroughly deserves favouritism after last week’s exemplary performance. Kaymer looks almost the complete package entering his fourth full season, and ready to take on the very best in the Majors. He’ll need to improve on two ordinary previous efforts at Doha in order to win back to back though.
Nobody can hold a light to Stenson’s course record. The Dubai resident won this in 2006, has finished runner-up three times and has a worst result of seventh in the past five years. That record warrants massive respect, but he’s been struggling for accuracy off the tee for some time, and this year’s thicker rough could make that a liability.
Had Poulter any sort of previous course form he would have been a pick, but a best of 43rd place in four visits this century suggests this isn’t his ideal venue. Nevertheless, he is improving fast and can consider himself unlucky to have been pipped by Kaymer on Sunday.
After back-to-back titles on the South African swing, Schwartzel has the chance to join an exclusive trio of players who have won three European Tour events in succession. With all due respect though, this is much tougher and his name hardly fits alongside those of Woods, Faldo and Ballesteros. Charl does have plenty of course form though, with five consecutive top 25s at Doha.
The current Race to Dubai champion was bitterly disappointing last week, and looks one to oppose for the time being as he admits to having teething troubles with his new set of irons.
The defending champion will have his supporters after a good run at the weekend, but tougher scoring conditions could thwart his power game this time around.