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BlogDubai Classic Preview and Picks

Omega Dubai Desert Classic

February 2nd – 5th, 2017

Emirates G.C.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,328

Purse: $2.65 Million

with $438,909 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Danny Willett

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 26 of the top 100 and 12 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with one top-10 in the field: #6 Henrik Stenson. The other top-50 in the field are #13 Danny Willett, #15 Sergio Garcia, #23 Tyrrell Hatton, #25 Rafael Cabrera Bello, #31 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #37 Bernd Wiesberger, #39 Jeunghun Wang, #43 Lee Westwood, #44 Chris Wood, #49 Andy Sullivan and #50 Martin Kaymer.

Last year 14 top-50 players were in the field.

The field includes 20 of the Top-25 on the Race to Dubai standings for 2017.  Those players are #1 Tommy Fleetwood, #2 Jeunghun Wang, #3 Sam Brazel, #4 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #5 Pablo Larrazabal, #6 Jaco Van Zyl, #7 Graeme Storm, #8 Andrew Dodt, #9 Thomas Aiken, #10 Joakim Lagergren, #11 Brandon Stone, #13 Jordan Smith, #14 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #17 Bernd Wiesberger, #19 Martin Kaymer, #20 Mike Lorenzo-Vera, #21 Thomas Detry, #22 David Lipsky, #24 Nacho Elvira and #25 Peter Hanson.

The field includes 11 of the 22 past champions: Danny Willett, Stephen Gallacher – 2014 & ’13, Rafael Cabrera-Bello – 2012, Alvaro Quiro – 2011, Miguel Angel Jimenez – 2010,  Tiger Woods – 2008 & ’06, Henrik Stenson – 2007, 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 Sony Open SBS T of C Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill Australian PGA DP Dubai Nedbank Golf Challenge Turkish Airlines
Jeunghun Wang
(233.17 pts)
Win
(132)
11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
2
(33.33)
T13
(12.33)
Thomas Aiken
(219.67 pts)
T4
(80)
T13
(37)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
T60
(0)
Jaco Van Zyl
(188.17 pts)
T2
(100)
T23
(27)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
T35
(7.5)
10
(13.33)
T72
(0)
Graeme Storm
(177.67 pts)
T21
(29)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(165.83 pts)
CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
T14
(12)
T22
(9.33)
Bernd Wiesberger
(159.67 pts)
T37
(13)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(40)
DNP 4
(26.67)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(144.5 pts)
T9
(45)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(7.5)
T39
(3.67)
T25
(8.33)
Pablo Larrazabal
(131.33 pts)
T48
(2)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(9)
DNP T52
(0)
T39
(3.67)
8
(16.67)
Joakim Lagergren
(113.67 pts)
T2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T40
(5)
T44
(2)
T6
(20)
Nacho Elvira
(111 pts)
T6
(60)
T36
(14)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
DNP DNP T30
(10)
T25
(8.33)
9
(15)
Tyrrell Hatton
(108.67 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(50)
T25
(8.33)
T10
(13.33)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(104.5 pts)
T6
(60)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP T23
(13.5)
T55
(0)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(99.5 pts)
T48
(2)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(15.5)
T44
(2)
DNP
David Drysdale
(97.33 pts)
T37
(13)
T57
(0)
T7
(55)
DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
T13
(12.33)
Chris Hanson
(96 pts)
T18
(32)
T23
(27)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jorge Campillo
(90.17 pts)
T13
(37)
T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
T67
(0)
T17
(11)
Henrik Stenson
(89.17 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
8
(16.67)
DNP
Peter Hanson
(82 pts)
T18
(32)
T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(80.5 pts)
T57
(0)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP T19
(15.5)
63
(0)
Win
(44)
Joost Luiten
(80.5 pts)
T21
(29)
T29
(21)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
T14
(12)
DNP
Mike Lorenzo-vera
(80 pts)
T4
(80)
T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
Oliver Fisher
(73.67 pts)
T41
(9)
T23
(27)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
Bradley Dredge
(71.33 pts)
T21
(29)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
T16
(11.33)
DNP
Victor Dubuisson
(71 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(40)
T3
(30)
T47
(1)
Lee Westwood
(68.5 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(18.5)
DNP T52
(0)

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 Sony Open SBS T of C Hong Kong Alfred Dunhill Australian PGA DP Dubai Nedbank Golf Challenge Turkish Airlines
Haydn Porteous
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
Nathan Holman
(-25 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
T62
(0)
Darren Clarke
(-23.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kristoffer Broberg
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Marcel Siem
(-21.33 pts)
DQ
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T39
(3.67)
T74
(0)
Niclas Fasth
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Trevor Immelman
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matthew Southgate
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
T39
(3.67)
T31
(6.33)
Lee Slattery
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
69
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 70
(0)
T52
(0)
Robert Rock
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
T52
(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 scarce because of religious beliefs.  Over the course of the last 28 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, Abu Dhabi is doing a better job of getting better fields.  Yes Tiger Woods is here, but he is no longer the force he used to be The field is still good with 12 top-50 players but Phoenix has a far better field.  Yes it could of helped having Rory McIlroy, who was planning on playing before he got hurt. Another problem that this event has is the purse is low so a lot of top European players like Branden Grace, Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel are taking a pass on playing.

Another sad thing, this event is not getting many American players to venture over.  Yes Tiger is playing but you know he is making more than the winner gets.  So with Qatar and Dubai losing it’s luster, the European Tour has to do something to change the downward slide. In the future it looks like the European Tour is going to get involved with the Australian Tour, hopefully adding the Australian Open one day. Guess we can call all of this evolution.

  • 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, but it’s going to be very windy on Thursday and Friday which will create a challenge for most of the players

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 last eight winners going back to 2009 all of them were in the top-19 with Rafael Cabrera-Bello leading that stat in 2012 while Stephen Gallacher was 12th in both his wins in 2013 and 2014.  In 2015 Rory McIlroy hit 60 of 72 greens and ranked T-5th so it’s important that the winner hits lot’s of greens.  Last year Danny Willett was the worst of the pack, hitting 56 of 72 greens to rank T-19th.

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 16 under par.  In 2015 Rory McIlroy was 22 under while last year Danny Willett was 19 under.  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 and the same with Rory McIlroy in 2015 but the other winners have been in the middle in hitting it long.  Also hitting fairways is not very important and only one winner in the last seven years has been in the top-25 of this stat.  In 2015 Rory hit only 25 fairways and ranked T-65th while last year’s champion Danny Willett ranked 10th in driving distance and he hit 31 fairways which ranked T-38th.
  • Mastering the par 5s is the key, 2015 winner Rory McIlroy may of only been 10 under while in 2009 McIlory played them in 12 under.  Last year Danny Willett was 12 under on the par 5s.
  • 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.

 

Who to watch for at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Best Bets:

Henrik Stenson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T6 T13 T29 T26 T20 CUT T8 3 T6 Win T7 T22

Played well in Abu Dhabi, he has a good record on the Emirates course and should do well.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 CUT T41 T17 Win T20 CUT

Guy has been knocking on the door on the European Tour, he has a great record including a win in this event.

Sergio Garcia

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T17 T20 T11 T19 CUT

I really feel that he could win this week, his game is always steady, he just needs to make a few putts.

Best of the rest:

Thomas Aiken

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T9 T7 CUT

Game is sharp, on top of that has played well in this event.

Andy Sullivan

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T2 T4 CUT T12

His game has been coming together and he could be ready for this week.

Chris Wood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T8 T23 T30 T20 T10 T20 CUT

Could be a factor in this event, just has to be a bit more consistent.

Tyrrell Hatton

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T8 T55 CUT

Show some promise last year in this event, played well in Abu Dhabi till a final round 75.

Bernd Wiesberger

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T16 T4 T9 T59 T24 CUT

Always good for a top finish, only problem he has trouble winning events.

Solid contenders

Tommy Fleetwood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T50 T47 CUT T10 T57

Winner at Abu Dhabi, he can do it again in this event.

Martin Kaymer

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T4 T13 T31 T4 T4 2

Played well in Abu Dhabi, has played well in the past in Dubai and could win.

Lee Westwood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T9 T5 T2 T15 2 T39 T10 T25 T28 T6

You never know if he still has a win up his sleeve.

Pablo Larrazabal

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T54 T20 T41 T49 T42 CUT CUT CUT

Someone that can surprise you and do very well.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T61

Has played well in 2017.

Long shots that could come through:

Joost Luiten

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T8 T47 T23 CUT T33 CUT CUT

Has a good track record in this event, has played ok of late.

Alvaro Quiros

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 T20 T54 T37 Win T6 T13 CUT T59

Plays well in this event, but has been very inconsistent and needs to improve on this.

Jordan L Smith

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
First time playing in this event

Shown a lot of late including a T-6th in Qatar last week.

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