Dan Box
By Dan Box

The DP World Tour arrives in Dubai for the final event of the season with Rory McIlroy having already wrapped up his fifth Race to Dubai title before the action gets underway, after Max Homa's win in South Africa last week gave the Northern Irishman an unassailable lead.

McIlroy holds the record for the most Race to Dubai wins since the season-long race was introduced in 2009, and trails only Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie in season-long titles in the history of the tour.

The changes to FedEx Cup system on the PGA Tour a couple of years ago were designed to ensure that the winner is crowned during the final week, but McIlroy's two Rolex Series victories along with strong finishes in the majors opens up the possibility of two different golfers holding silverware at the end of the week (unless McIlroy also wins the event outright).

Last Year

Rory Mcilroy won his fourth Race to Dubai title last year, finishing almost 600 points clear of Ryan Fox, after a strong season despite not winning an offical DP World Tour event.

The tournament itself was won by Jon Rahm, who became the first person to claim five Rolex Series wins with a two-stroke victory over Alex Noren and Tyrrell Hatton, winning the event for the third time in just six years.

The Course

The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has played host to this event since 2009 and is a typical desert-style tour course which has produced low scoring over the years.

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 greens.

Despite measuring at nearly 7,700 yards, scoring often gets up towards 20 under par proving that 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.

The last eleven winners of this event are major champions, suggesting that the cream rises to the top on a golf course that rewards power off the tee as well as a sharp short game.

The Field

The top 50 players in the Race to Dubai rankings are set to tee it up this week, including three of the top four players in the world and 10 of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team, making this a star-studded field to end the season.

Past champions McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick all boast excellent records at this course, while Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton have both previously won in nearby Abu Dhabi.

Viktor Hovland is arguably the most in-form golfer in the world over the last few months, and will surely have his sights set on a maiden major title and the number one spot in the world rankings in 2024.

Adrian Meronk has had an impressive season with three victories to his name and was unlucky to miss out on a Ryder Cup spot. He's bound to be in the mix for the Player of the Year award and finishing with a strong week may just tip the odds in his favour.

Whilst the DP World Tour is the new name for the European Tour, the event still has a pretty world-wide flavour thanks to the likes of young stars Tom Kim and Min Woo Lee, as well as the Hojgaard twins. Whilst all four players have notched up impressive victories in their young careers so far, a win against this field would surely rank as their best.

Golfalot Tips

Viktor Hovland @ 6/1

The hottest player in golf over the last few months, Hovland is just going from strength to strength and looks to have no real weaknesses in his game after working hard on his chipping and pitching over the last few years. Hovland has three wins in 2023, picked up 3.5 points at the Ryder Cup and has had a number of strong finishes at desert golf courses.

With McIlroy having already wrapped up the Race to Dubai title and Jon Rahm given very short odds with most of the bookmakers, Hovland might just offer better value for money.

Min Woo Lee @ 35/1

The popular, big-hitting Australian is in fantastic form after winning on the Asian Tour last month, and also has a really impressive track record on courses in the Middle East which make him decent value for a high each-way finish this week.

Strong finishes at The Players Championship, US Open and Irish Open will only help to give him more confidence that he is able to compete with the very best players in the world and it feels like it is only a matter of time until he wins a big event.


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