Best bets for the DP World Tour Championship

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DP World Tour Championship

After an 11-month-long season, stretching back to the Joburg Open and Australian PGA Championship last November, we finally arrive at the season finale in Dubai.

 

Rory McIlroy (5-1), a two-time winner of this event, has an insurmountable lead in the Race to Dubai rankings as he secured the Harry Vardon Trophy on Sunday without lifting a club as none of his closest competitors could get within 2,000 points of his total for 2023. However, there is plenty more to fight for with a $10 million prize fund, Race to Dubai bonus pool and 10 PGA Tour cards to be secured.

Jon Rahm (+550) is a three-time winner in Dubai and is the event’s defending champion. Viktor Hovland (+550) capped his PGA Tour season with a victory at the Tour Championship en route to winning the FedEx Cup and could cap his DP World Tour season winning the finale as well.

Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1) is also a two-time winner here, while Tommy Fleetwood (14-1) who has a golf academy on the Jumeriah Golf Estates property, has finished in the top 10 here in three of the last four years. Tyrrell Hatton (14-1) was the co-runner-up to Rahm here last year.

Tom Kim and Min Woo Lee (both 20-1) each won events five weeks ago.

Nicolai Hojgaard (25-1) was runner-up last week in South Africa at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The Event

The DP World Tour Championship was established in 2009 as the Race to Dubai replaced the former European Tour Order of Merit. Global port operator DP World, based in Dubai and formed in 2005 with the merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International, serves as the title sponsor of this event. Only 50 players are in this week’s field. The field will play for a $10 million purse with a $3 million share going to the winner. The Vardon Trophy, named after six-time Champion Golfer of the Year Harry Vardon, is awarded to the Race to Dubai points winner.

There are 12,000 total points up for grabs this week across the field, with 2,000 points going to the winner, so the points title is still to be determined. Unlike the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour, there is no separate market for starting strokes because there are no starting strokes for this event.

The Course

The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has hosted this event every year since the tournament’s creation. The track was designed by Greg Norman, and it opened in 2009. The track is a monster at 7,675 yards with two of the par-5s measuring over 620 yards, the tough par-4 ninth of 500 yards, plus the 195-yard par-3 17th, which plays to an island green. Greens are large, undulating Bermudagrass which run 12-6 on the stimpmeter. Water is in play on the final three holes and there are 99 bunkers predominantly featured in the fairways. Although the course is long, it is fairly easy to score. Nevertheless, those ball strikers that are especially good with long irons should be successful here and being long off the tee never hurts either.

Recent History/Winners

2022: Jon Rahm (-20/268); 5-1

2021: Collin Morikawa (-17/271); 15-2

2020: Matt Fitzpatrick (-15/273); 7-1

2019: Jon Rahm (-19/269); 7-1

2018: Danny Willett (-18/270); 80-1

2017: Jon Rahm (-19/269); 12-1

2016: Matt Fitzpatrick (-17/271); 66-1

2015: Rory McIlroy (-21/267); 5-1

2014: Henrik Stenson (-16/272); 17-2

2013: Henrik Stenson (-25/263); 11-1**

2012: Rory McIlroy (-23/265); 6-1

2011: Alvaro Quiros (-19/269); 40-1

2010: Robert Karlsson (-14/274); 50-1*

Playoff win over Ian Poulter – *

All-time tournament scoring record – **

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Wes Reynolds writes a weekly golf column and contributes NFL and college football best bet write-ups throughout the season. He is the co-host of VSiN Tonight (9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET, M-F), The Lookahead (Sunday nights), and the Long Shots golf podcast. He has a Masters in Athletic Administration and Sport Management from Indiana University and previously worked in sales and marketing for the Indiana Pacers, Indiana U., and the Indiana Firebirds (AFL).