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BlogDubai Desert Preview and Picks

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

January 29 – February 1, 2015

Emirates G.C.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Par: 72 / Yardage:7,316

Purse: $3.4 Million

with $484,625 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Stephen Gallacher

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

 The field includes 15 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with three top-10 in the field: #1 Rory McIlroy, #2 Henrik Stenson and #6 Sergio Garcia. The other top-50 in the field are #12 Martin Kaymer, #16 Victor Dubisson, #19 Graeme McDowell, #29 Lee Westwood, #30 Joost Luiten, #34 Stephen Gallacher, #35 Thomas Bjorn, #38 Thongchai Jaidee, #43 Louis Oosthuizen, #44 Branden Grace, #49 Mikko Ilonen and #50 Danny Willett.

Last year 11 top-50 players were in the field.

The field includes 17 of the Top-25 on the Race to Dubai standings for 2014.  Those players are #1 Danny Willett, #2 Ross Fisher, #3 Branden Grace, #4 Gary Stal, #6 Louis Oosthuizen, #7 Marc Warren, #8 Marcel Siem,#10 Rory McIlroy, #11 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #13 Martin Kaymer, #14 Bernd Wiesberger, #15 Andy Sullivan, #16 Thomas Pieters, #17 Thongchai Jaidee, #18 Eddie Pepperell, #20 An Byeong Hun, #21 Andrew Johnston, #22 George Coetzee, #23 Victor Dubuisson, #24 Stephen Gallacher and #25 Tommy Fleetwood.

The field includes 10 of the 21 past champions: Stephen Gallacher – 2014 & ’13, Rafael Cabrera-Bello – 2012, Alvaro Quiro – 2011, Rory McIlroy – 2009, Henrik Stenson – 2007, Ernie Els – 2005, ’02 & 1994, Thomas Bjorn – 2001, David Howell – 1999, Jose Maria Olazabal – 1998 and Richard Green – 1997.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Player Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi South African Open Nedbank Challenge Alfred Dunhill Championship Dubai World Turkish Airlines WGC-HSBC Champions BMW Masters
Branden Grace
(285.17 pts)
Win
(132)
T20
(30)
T15
(35)
DNP Win
(44)
T9
(22.5)
T19
(10.33)
DNP T16
(11.33)
Andy Sullivan
(200.83 pts)
T19
(31)
T57
(0)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T21
(14.5)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T67
(0)
Gary Stal
(188.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
T5
(70)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(179.33 pts)
3
(90)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(17)
T52
(0)
DNP T13
(12.33)
Victor Dubuisson
(151.33 pts)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(50)
T15
(11.67)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Rory McIlroy
(150 pts)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(50)
DNP DNP DNP
Ross Fisher
(144 pts)
T30
(20)
T9
(45)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T42
(4)
T25
(8.33)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Eddie Pepperell
(137.33 pts)
4
(80)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
10
(13.33)
DNP T26
(8)
Henrik Stenson
(123 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
3
(30)
DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(121.5 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP Win
(44)
T4
(26.67)
T21
(14.5)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Marc Warren
(118.5 pts)
2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP T21
(14.5)
T39
(3.67)
DNP T43
(2.33)
Emiliano Grillo
(112.67 pts)
T5
(70)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP 54
(0)
T11
(13)
DNP T8
(16.67)
Thomas Pieters
(108.67 pts)
T38
(12)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ernie Els
(108.5 pts)
T23
(27)
T12
(38)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T39
(5.5)
DNP DNP T26
(8)
Martin Kaymer
(105.17 pts)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP T39
(5.5)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP
James Morrison
(99 pts)
T46
(4)
T6
(60)
T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(97.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(30)
T19
(10.33)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Oliver Fisher
(97.33 pts)
T10
(40)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
T60
(0)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Thomas Aiken
(94 pts)
T38
(12)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP T16
(11.33)
T36
(7)
T64
(0)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Alejandro Canizares
(92.67 pts)
8
(50)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T64
(0)
Nicolas Colsaerts
(90.5 pts)
T13
(37)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
T52
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
Gregory Bourdy
(89 pts)
T5
(70)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP
Alexander Levy
(88 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T20
(30)
DNP T21
(9.67)
DNP T26
(12)
T11
(13)
DNP T2
(33.33)
Marcel Siem
(82.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP T39
(5.5)
T8
(16.67)
DNP Win
(44)
Louis Oosthuizen
(81.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
2
(33.33)
T6
(30)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Player Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi South African Open Nedbank Challenge Alfred Dunhill Championship Dubai World Turkish Airlines WGC-HSBC Champions BMW Masters
Garth Mulroy
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sam Hutsby
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richard Finch
(-23.33 pts)
T70
(0)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Oliver Farr
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T57
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matteo Manassero
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 59
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP 76
(0)
Dominic Foos
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jin Jeong
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marco Crespi
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Palmer
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
72
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP 74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme Storm
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T61
(0)

How Player Rankings are Computed

 The Buzz:

This event has always been one of the richest on the European Tour ever since it was first played in 1989.  Dubai is know for it’s wealth, it’s sky line is something out of a futuristic  science fiction movie and you can buy just about anything know to humans, with the exception of alcohol which is scare because of religious beliefs.  Over the course of the last 25 years, this event has taken a bite on whatever west coast event is played on the PGA Tour, those that run Dubai would pay top dollar for the best players in the world.  But there is change in the air, frankly Abu Dhabi and even Qatar are doing a better job of getting better fields and for the first time in as long as anyone can remember an American isn’t playing this week.  The field is still good with 15 top-50 players but the emphasis is on getting more Europeans instead of the Tiger Woods, who for the first time wasn’t given an invite (Tiger has played this event seven times with two wins).

Despite not having any Americans the field is good and the course is one of the best so it will have another great week.

Course Information 

  • Played at the Emirates Golf Club
  • Doha, Qatar – Par:  72 / Yardage: 7,316

Emirates Golf Club, not only hosts the Omega Dubai Desert Classic but also the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in December.  It was the first all grass championship golf course in the Middle East when it opened in 1988. The club is part of a 54 hole facility with the Faldo Course and the Creek course, which held this tournament in 1999 and 2000.

The Emirates course was designed by Florida architect Karl Litten and lie amongst a plethora of sand dunes, on a site originally donated by Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, on whose instructions was that the desert flora was maintained in its natural state. Within a year of opening, the newly christened Majlis hosted the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic in February 1989.  The sprinklers on the Majlis course keep the Bermuda grass growing, alongside the indigenous desert flora, giving a picturesque contrast. The lush fairways and large greens provide a formidable test of golf, guaranteeing a magnificent finish on the 18th hole, a long dog-leg, which has seen as many inspirational finishes as watery disasters in its 19 year history.  Other course highlights include the par three 7th and the gruelling par four 8th.

There are 5 lakes dotted around the course with water coming into play on seven holes.  There are only 41 bunkers on the course but something a bit unique, five greens with no bunkers guarding them.  There isn’t that much rough but if you hit it off the fairway you could find yourself in desert scrub which is sometimes harder to hit out of than rough.  The course is always in great shape and in a way follow the same creed as Augusta National in which the staff works hard to maintain this course in a manner that many feel it’s always the best manicured course on the European Tour.

Just like last week the key to playing the course is to have windless conditions.  If by chance the area is hit by the Shamal winds it makes the course very tough, but this event has never suffered any weather problems like Qatar has experienced.  In looking at the weather forecast, there is zero percent chance of rain with temperatures in the mid 70s, with the wind blowing between 10 and 15 mph.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic:

Key stat for the winner:

What is the key stat that helps players win in Dubai?  Seems that hitting lot’s of greens is very important.  Of the six winners going back to 2009 all of them were in the top-15 with Rafael Cabrera-Bello leading that stat in 2012 while Stephen Gallacher was 12th in both his wins in 2013 and 2014.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • The Dubal Desert Classic has been known as a tournament that produces low scores as the winner has had an average score of just under 16 under par.  Again watch the winds, that has a lot to do with the scoring.
  • You can’t call this course a long hitters paradise.  Yes Alvaro Quiros won in 2011 averaging the best of those in the field but since then the winners have been in the middle in hitting it long.  Also hitting fairways is not very important and only one winner in the last six years has been in the top-25 of this stat.
  • Mastering the par 5s is the key, last year’s winner Stephen Gallacher may of only been 10 under while in 2009 Rory McIlory played them in 12 under.
  • The only way that a winner goes over par in any single round is because of the wind.  Henrik Stenson in 2007 was the last player to shot all four rounds in the 60s but only 3 champions (Alvaro Quiros 73, 1st rd in 2011, Tiger Woods 73, 3rd rd in 2008 and Jose Coceres 73, 4th round in 2000) have had a single round over par and that was on a day of high winds.
  • In the history of this event there has only been one true gun that seems to play great every time he tees it up in Dubai and that is Ernie Els.   Between 1993 and 2008 he played the Dubai Classic 11 times never finishing higher than 8th, winning it three times, finishing runner-up three times and 3rd twice.  For some odd reason this great streak ended in 2009 when he missed the cut and hasn’t been back to this event since.  So it will be interesting to see how he plays this week.  But while Ernie Els has gone dormant in this event, Stephen Gallacher has excelled.  Gallacher has played 14 times in this event and after finishing T4th in his first start in 2000, he only chalked up one top-25 (T22nd in 2006) between 2000 and 2010.  But things started to click for him in 2011 when he finished T10th.  After that he was T2nd in 2012 and won in 2013 & ’14 as he is 55 under in his last 12 rounds.  So look for the streak to continue, while Els still struggles.

Who to watch for at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Best Bets:

Stephen Gallacher

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win Win T2 T10 T31 CUT T44 T44 T22 T51 T34 T38

It’s hard to not bet with this guy the way he has played the last couple of years. Disregard how he has played leading up to this week, in his three previous Dubai start he hasn’t had a impressive start in events leading up to Dubai.

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T9 T5 T10 T6 Win CUT T52 CUT

This guy is just waiting to win again, you know it’s like a dike ready to explode, could be this week.

Bernd Wiesberger

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T9 T59 T24 CUT

Watch him he is 31 under in his last 8 rounds in Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Best of the rest:

Sergio Garcia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T17 T20 T11 T19 CUT

Has never finished in the top-ten in this event in six starts, still think this is a great week for him.Martin Kaymer

George Coetzee

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5

I had faith in his last week and for 36 holes he ruled the roast. I still think he can win and it could be this week.

Henrik Stenson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T29 T26 T20 CUT T8 3 T6 Win T7 T22 T45 T71

Played well in this event between 2006 and 2010, hasn’t done as well but comes into this week doing well.

Solid contenders

Victor Dubuisson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT T31

Played well last two events but hasn’t played well in this event, look for him to step it up.

Ernie Els

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT T3 2 2 Win T3 2

The first “King of the Emirates course, since his great play in 2008 and only played twice, missing the cut.

Branden Grace

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T51

Won last week, may not to it again but he should have a top-ten finish in him.

Thorbjorn Olesen

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 T3 T42 CUT

Played great here the last two years.

Marc Warren

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T17 CUT T20 CUT CUT CUT CUT

Like the way he played last week in Qatar.

Long shots that could come through:

Emiliano Grillo

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
2 CUT

Played great last year and was T5th last week in Qatar.

Robert Rock

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 T7 T51 T20 T20 CUT

Watch this past Dubai winner, good be a good longshot.

Ross Fisher

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T66 T10 T11 T13 T10 5

This could be a great week for him, he would love to contend and win.

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