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BlogAbu Dhabi Preview and Picks

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

January 21st – 24th, 2016

Abu Dhabi G.C.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Par: 72 / Yardage:

Purse: $2.7 million

with $413,980 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Gary Stal

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

30 players in the field are in the top-100 of the Latest Official World Rankings

The field includes 17 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with four top-10 in the field: #1 Jordan Spieth, #3 Rory McIlroy, #5 Henrik Stenson and #6 Rickie Fowler. The other top-50 in the field are  #16 Branden Grace, #19 Danny Willett, #28 Thongchai Jaidee, #29 Byeong Hun An, #30 Martin Kaymer, #31 Russell Knox, #33 Victor Dubuisson, #34 Bernd Wiesberger, #37 Andy Sullivan, #39 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #40 Chris Wood, #46 Matthew Fitzpatrick and #47 Soren Kjeldsen

Last year 12 top-50 players were in the field

The field includes 17 of the Top-25 on the Race to Dubai standings for 2016.  Those players are #1 Henrik Stenson, #2 Chris Wood, #4 Branden Grace, #T-5 Victor Dubuison & Danny Willett, #7 Nathan Holman, #8 Brandon Stone, #9 Gregory Bourdy, #10 Haydn Porteous, #11 Byeong Hun An, #14 Thongchai Jaidee, #19 Benjamin Hebert, #20 Justin Walters, #22 Daniel Im, #T-23 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

The field includes four of the seven past champions: Gary Stale (2015), Pablo Larrazabal (2014), Robert Rock (2012) and Martin Kaymer (2011, ’10 & ’08).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 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 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship  in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

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

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

How would you like to have Total Golf Knowledge At Your Fingertips??

We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

It gives you everything that you need to know about golf, you have all the players results and every tournament result, again at your fingertips.  It’s very easy to use and you can take a good amout of GOLFstats with you everyplace.  No need to get home and check things out on your computer at home, you can answer any question with your Ipad.

So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.01.34 AM

Sorry, we are still working on the results and stats from last week’s Joburg Open so below chart is missing it.

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

Who’s Hot in the field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Player BMW South African Open Nedbank Golf Challenge Australian PGA Championship Alfred Dunhill Championship DP World Tour Championship
Branden Grace
(168.33 pts)
T4
(80)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T8
(16.67)
3
(45)
Brandon Stone
(142.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Daniel Brooks
(90 pts)
3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Justin Walters
(87.33 pts)
T4
(80)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T18
(10.67)
DNP
Gregory Bourdy
(68.33 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
T38
(6)
Danny Willett
(66.67 pts)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T4
(40)
Rory McIlroy
(66 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(66)
Byeong-Hun An
(56.67 pts)
DNP 8
(16.67)
DNP DNP T4
(40)
Daniel Im
(55.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP T34
(5.33)
DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(51.33 pts)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP T4
(40)
Andy Sullivan
(51.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP 2
(50)
Chris Wood
(48.5 pts)
DNP 3
(30)
DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
Trevor Fisher Jr
(46.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Victor Dubuisson
(45.17 pts)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
Nathan Holman
(44 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Jorge Campillo
(41 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
DNP
Lee Slattery
(39.5 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP 65
(0)
T17
(16.5)
Robert Rock
(38 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
David Drysdale
(33.67 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(33.33 pts)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
Joost Luiten
(32.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T31
(9.5)
Benjamin Hebert
(30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 3
(30)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(28.33 pts)
DNP T25
(8.33)
DNP DNP T10
(20)
Soren Kjeldsen
(27 pts)
DNP 29
(7)
DNP DNP T10
(20)
Renato Paratore
(26.33 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP 40
(3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Player BMW South African Open Nedbank Golf Challenge Australian PGA Championship Alfred Dunhill Championship DP World Tour Championship
Pelle Edberg
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Matthew Baldwin
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Nacho Elvira
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Oliver Wilson
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bjorn Akesson
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T62
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
John Parry
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Morten Orum Madsen
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Haydn Porteous
(-13.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Trevor Immelman
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jin Jeong
(-10 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

A very important next three weeks for the European Tour it’s the desert swing, three weeks in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.  First this week is the Abu Dhabi Championship which is being held in one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  It also has a great field and is being played on a good course.  The importance of this event is to get the European Tour off to a great start and the next couple of weeks will have marquee names along with the best players in the world.

The field is good and has three of golf’s big four, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.  Jason Day isn’t playing, but along with Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Branden Grace this is a really good field.

One person not in the field is 2013 Jamie Donaldson.  Details are sketchy as he twitted a picture of his left hand with a major cut on his left hand that was stitched up saying that he lost a fight with a chainsaw.  The figure looks terrible, but it didn’t look like it cut much, if it was a chainsaw he could of easily lost the figure and the hand. It’s too bad for Donaldson who won last month at the Thailand Golf Championship after a two year winless drought.  Despite not playing this week, Donaldson’s manager John Fay told Press Association Sport that since Donaldson didn’t suffer any tendon damage, that he could play in Singapore next week and will play in two weeks in Dubai.

Course Information – Abu Dhabi Golf Club

Part of a 27-hole club that was built and opened in 1998.  The course was designed by Peter Harradine. The course was carved straight out of the desert and requires about a half a million gallons of water a day to keep in shape.  The holes weaves through undulating terrain that features pockets of palms, ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as seven spectacular saltwater lakes. The course provides a tough but fair challenge, with lush fairways, water coming in play on 11 holes, 90 strategically placed bunkers and big greens which are Bermuda Tifdwarf.  Fairways are paspalum while the rough is Rye.

Since the course was first used 8 years ago, several changes are made each year with new tees adding more distance, bunkers have been changed and greens changed to add more challenging pin positions.  For this year some changes was the additional of bunkers at the 11th making the fairway harder to hit and the green more testing to hit.  The tee was also changed at 18, moving it to the left and raised by 15 feet.  This will bring the fairway bunkers more into play and make the hole more challenging.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

  • In looking at the stats of the winners that last four years, what sticks out as very important is hitting lot’s of greens.  Kaymer was T1st in that stat in 2011 and every winner since 2009 except for Kaymer in 2010 and Pablo Larrazabal last year finished in the top-12 in that category.
  • Also important to look for length, since this is a desert course and will play firm, players that hit it far will have an advantage along with guys that play well in the desert.

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

  • Interesting to see how well all of the champions since 2009 has done on the par 3s.  Last year’s champion Pablo Larrazabal was 7 under on them, all of the winners since 2009 have played them under par.
  • Length is always important as those in contention are high up in driving distance.  In looking at someone that has done well in that stat, Rory McIlroy got better each year in distance and finish as he was T5th in 2009, 3rd in 2010 and 2nd in 2011 and ’12..
  • In the 9 years the tournament has been played only once has the champion shot over par.  That was Martin Kaymer in the final round of 2008 when he shot 74, but the wind was gusting up to 45 mph that day.
  • It’s very unique to think that in the nine year history of this event Paul Casey has won it twice and Martin Kaymer won it three times, horses for courses.  Unfortunately Casey hasn’t played in this event since 2014.
  • Guess what the weather is going to be?  Easy, it’s going to be perfect with tempertures in the mid to high 70s and no rain.  Wind will be low, the worst day is Friday with winds of 11 mph.
  • One last thing, it’s easy to say that Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth will win.  But look at the last four winners, nobody would of predicted either last year’s winner Gary Stall, 2014 winner Pablo Larrazabal or 2012 winner Robert Rock.  Look at guys like Justin Walters, who finished T-3rd last week in the Joburg Open and T-4th in the South African Open as a good longshot.

Who to watch for at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
2 T2 CUT 2 2 3 T5 T11

You know he wants to create a message that he is as good and better than Spieth. Plays well on this course, six top-five finishes in eight starts, including three runner-up finishes. Time for a win.

Martin Kaymer

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
3 T31 T6 CUT Win Win T2 Win CUT

Has a great record in this event, hasn’t played since the first part of December but didn’t play well the last three months of the year so looking for improvement.

Branden Grace

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T20 T52 5 CUT

Been in the top-8 in his last four starts, and four of his last five, he won in Qatar last year and could win here this year.

Best of the rest:

Jordan Spieth

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

The question will be if the journey plus all of the requests will be over baring for him. Great putter but that may be enough on this course. Still he is so good that he can win anyplace, so he could do well this week.

Victor Dubuisson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T4 CUT CUT

Ended his season playing well last month, look for him to continue the good play.

Tyrrell Hatton

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T6 T10

Seems to play his best golf in the desert, last T-13th in November in the DP World. Worth a gamble on.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT

We have been watching him hit his stride the last six months, this would be a great week for him to show off his game on such a big stage.

Solid contenders

Danny Willett

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T57 T19 T23 CUT 69 CUT T8

Last we saw him he finished T-4th at Nedbank and DP World, another of these guys that could win at any time including on this course.

Byeong-Hun An

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T12

It was a year ago in this event that he started to show how well his game was, look for him to be better than last year’s T-12th.

Chris Wood

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T65 70 CUT T23 T19

Another of those players that could win and nobody would realize it, has finished in the top-25 in seven of his last eight starts. Was 3rd at the Nedbank, his last start.

George Coetzee

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T37 T4 T9 T6

T-13th last week in Joburg Open, I think he will have a very good year in 2016.

Long shots that could come through:

Thongchai Jaidee

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T10 T9 CUT T46 T13 T13 T34 T14 T12

Was T-2nd in the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship just three weeks ago, he can play well and has won in Europe, just needs to break out in a really big event like this.

Justin Walters

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
DQ

Has played good in the last couple of South African events, so it may be worth a dollar or two.

Daniel Im

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

Guy has played well the last two weeks finishing T-3rd at Joburg and T-8th at South African Open.

Worst Bets:

Henrik Stenson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
CUT CUT T23 CUT T42 T21 CUT T2 8 2

Have you seen his record in this event? Missed the cut three out of last four years, yes he was runner-up twice but that was almost a decade ago. Had surgery in December so have to think it will be a bit before he gets back into the swing of things, but it won’t happen this week.

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