Rory McIlroy is 11/2 favourite for this week’s DP World Tour Championship – the final European Tour event of the season – and the short odds against his name seem entirely justified.
McIlroy has a magnificent record at this venue – the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates – and has never finished outside of the top 20 in his 10 starts there.
The Northern Irishman has twice won this tournament, making the each-way places seven times, and the former world number one should be a warm order for this year having arrived in fine fettle.
Last time out, McIlroy claimed the 20th title of his PGA Tour career, repelling a fast-finishing Collin Morikawa to win the CJ Cup in Las Vegas. McIlroy was rock-solid down the stretch in the CJ Cup and appears happier than ever with his golf game and support team.
Michael Bannon is back working as his coach and any doubts about Harry Diamond continuing as his caddie have been dispelled by some strong input from his bagman in McIlroy’s last two triumphs. A relaxed McIlroy should be tough to beat this week.
American Duo Chasing Race to Dubai Glory
Plenty of players are still in with a mathematical chance of winning the Race to Dubai, but American raiders Collin Morikawa and Billy Horschel have the best opportunity. Open champion Morikawa leads the standings, with BMW PGA Championship victor Horschel in second place.
Morikawa, who finished 10th in last year’s DP World Tour Championship, can be expected to do enough to claim the Race to Dubai trophy. The Californian is a far less attractive proposition for the DP World Tour Championship at just 15/2. Morikawa is better suited to venues where his precision and general tee-to-green tidiness is fully rewarded – like Royal St George’s, where he lifted the Claret Jug in the summer.
The wide-open terrain of the Earth Course does not play to his strengths. The same can be said of 22/1 chance Horschel, who is making his tournament debut. The Floridian has been in decent nick, but could be outside his comfort zone in Dubai.
South African Slugger Could be Lively Outsider
Dean Burmester could make some waves in this event and the 40/1 against his name is an appealing each-way option at a quarter the odds, the first five places. The two-time European Tour champion contended through two rounds last week in the Dubai Championship – which was played on the neighbouring Fire Course – and he could sustain a 72-hole gallop at the Earth Course.
Burmester won one of the Sunshine Tour’s most prestigious events – the PGA Championship – before jetting to Dubai last week. Some mental fatigue probably kicked into his system over the weekend, but the fact he has been able to stay on site at the Jumeirah Golf Estates between the Dubai Championship and the DP World Tour Championship has allowed the South African to freshen up for the Tour finale.
With Earth Course form figures of 4-4-14, he should be licking his lips.
*All odds correct at time of writing.