Dan Box
By Dan Box

And just like that, another season draws to a close.

2021 DP World Tour Championship Preview

Whilst the 2020-21 campaign began amidst plenty of uncertainty with a revised schedule, countless different travel and social restrictions and rumblings of discontent among some of the game's biggest players, Europe's flagship golf tour is undoubtedly reaching its conclusion in a much stronger position.

The latest announcement that the tour will be renamed the DP World Tour heading into 2022 was not particularly popular with the fans, but at least it provides financial guarantees to a tour which has been struggling over the past few years - even if it means that a little of its heritage has been lost.

Another example of this loss of heritage is the fact that the tour's flagship, season-ending event is actually held in Dubai, not Europe, with the winner of the season's Order of Merit (known as the Race to Dubai) crowned this week.

Last Year

Matt Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood made it an English one-two at last year's DP World Tour Championship, with Fitzpatrick's closing round of 68 giving him a one-stroke victory.

However that wasn't quite enough to stop Westwood from becoming European No 1 for the third time in his career, in the process becoming the oldest man to win the season-long title.

After finishing the tournament in a tie for third place, American Patrick Reed had to settle for third in the overall standings.

The Course

The Greg Norman-designed Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has been host to this event since its inception in 2009.

It's very much your modern-day golf course. Long, perfectly manicured, fantastic facilities, perfect for spectators, and with plenty of scope for some low scores for the pros due to the wide fairways and fast, perfectly manicured greens.

Despite measuring at nearly 7,700 yards, winning totals here have often surpassed -20 over the four days. So four scores in the 60s will probably be required for anyone wanting to be in the mix on Sunday afternoon.

A strong finish has often been key in this event over the past few years, so look out for the long par-3 17th with its island green and par-5 18th, with water cutting into the hole three times, to be key.

The Field

53 golfers have qualified for this week's event, with Rory McIlroy and current Race to Dubai leader Collin Morikawa serving as the headline acts.

The most notable absence is World Number One Jon Rahm who withdrew last week, explaining:

"The demands of a long season with many ups and downs has taken a lot out of me. I feel I need to take time to recharge my batteries while spending quality time with my family."

Of course, any one of the 53 golfers can win the tournament, but only six golfers can win the Race to Dubai. These are as follows:

  1. Collin Morikawa - 3,856.40 points

  2. Billy Horschel - 3,620.20 points

  3. Tyrrell Hatton - 2,472.10 points

  4. Min Woo Lee - 2,187.10 points

  5. Matt Fitzpatrick - 2,113.20 points

  6. Paul Casey - 2,053.80 points

With 2,000 points available to the winner this week, it is still all to play for and there could be plenty of twists and turns all the way until the last putt drops on Sunday before we know for sure who our winner is.

As for the tournament itself, there is a typically strong field lined up to attempt to finish their year in style. The likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer are teeing it up, along with European Tour veterans Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.

Success this week for rising stars Will Zalatoris, Garrick Higgo and the Hojgaard twins would represent the biggest win of their professional career to date in front of a global audience.

Golfalot Betting Tips

Sergio Garcia @ 18/1

The Spaniard looks like a decent price considering he doesn't have to worry about the Race to Dubai leaderboard, like most of the other favourites, so he can concentrate solely on winning this tournament. He has an excellent record at desert golf in recent years, including top 15s in Dubai and Saudi Arabia at the start of 2021. Finished T7 in his last start at Mayakoba and, like always, if his putter behaves then he could contend.

Bernd Wiesberger @ 22/1

Fresh off the back of a runner-up finish last week in Dubai, and has finished in the top 20 in each of his last four starts so is clearly in great form. Finished T4 in 2016 and has made the cut in each of his last three appearances at this event. When players like Rory McIlroy is as short as 6/1, 22/1 feels like great value.

Garrick Higgo @ 70/1

Not in the greatest of form but has made the cut in his last two events and is a streaky player who can put together runs of form from seemingly nowhere. Didn't play last week so may be a little fresher than some others in the field and T14 finish last year suggests that he likes the course. 7 professional wins in 63 starts is hard to ignore.


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