The Venue and Course
Inspired by the natural elements of Fire, Earth, Water and Wind, and interwoven with tastefully designed homes, the four championship golf courses of Jumeirah Golf Estates are manicured to absolute perfection and this golfing oasis offers up the perfect climax to close out the season.
The Earth Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates has been host to the DP World Championships since 2009. Designed by Greg Norman it measures 7,706 yards and has a par of 72 and traditional set up of 4 par 5's and 4 par 3's with equal amounts on each side.
The Bermuda greens are large and undulating, expected to be running at 12'6" on the stimp reading and as pure as pure gets, the tour have the option should they choose to, to stick the pins in locations that can seem quite cruel to really test the field or event place them in where the ball should gather to get the scoring going but no doubt we will see a lot of familiar pin placements on Sunday especially for the dramatic 18th where many a title has been won or lost.
Water features on 5 holes but most prominently and famously with its island green 17th and meandering creek that runs the length of the 18th hole, to accompany these hazards the course boasts 99 white marble bunkers that play a big part in its visual concept. Some of the extremely large and awkwardly placed.
Fairways are wide and inviting and even the odd stray shot isn't penalised to heavily, a really tempting invitation for the bombers in the field
It is time for the best of the best from the European Tour to show us how good they are. There are 2 very notable absentee's with both Rory and Henrik out injured, normally it wouldn't bother me too much with such a quality field but I cant help but feel it's a real shame these two iconic players so gloriously attached to this venue cant play. However other than that it's unquestionably the best field we have to offer and every player here has truly earned their right to showcase themselves in this golfing spectacle.
The 2016 DP World Tour Championship enjoyed an epic conclusion that went right down to the wire. Tyrrell Hatton had a one shot lead going up the the par 5 18th but with a closing bogey he came second to fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick who birdied the last to win the DP World Tour Championship by one shot also securing his third European Tour title.
The Race to Dubai title for Europe’s no. 1 golfer was also a closely fought battle, but Henrik Stenson of Sweden came out on top to win his second Race to Dubai title.
Previous Winners of the DP World Tour Championship
2009 - Lee Westwood (-23)
2010 - Robert Karlsson (-14)
2011 - Alvaro Quiros (-19)
2012 - Rory McIlroy (-23)
2013 - Henrik Stenson (-25)
2014 - Henrik Stenson (-16)
2015 - Rory McIlroy (- 21)
The Stage is Set
So aside from the DP World Tour Championships we also have to conclusion of the Race To Dubai Title to sort out and 3 players looking to be crowned with the title of Europe's best golfer for 2017. Tommy Fleetwood has lead the way, almost from start to finish and yet he finds himself in an intriguing battle with two super stars of the game Sergio Garcia and Just Rose.. Without going in to all the boring details of where each need to place its basically boils down to Tommy staying ahead of Justin and hoping Garcia doesn't sneak a win if they drop too far down the leader board.. For those interested or considering a bet my moneys firmly with Justin Rose, although I must admit I'd love to see Tommy get the title after all the work he's put in this year to stay on top.
Key Stats and Strategy
Driving the ball well has always been of huge benefit here, getting the ball deep into the fairway will make the task of hitting greens and creating chances much easier. The fairways as wide as they are will suit the bigger hitters and somewhat negate the short knockers accuracy advantage.
Hitting targets but in the right places. Get the ball close and birdies will mount up, miss your target or leave the ball in the wrong spot and these large undulating surfaces can easily make a fool of the best in the game on and around the greens.
With perfect surfaces to putt on I want players in form with the short stick, all about making birdies and hoping your player has few mistakes in this format of play and no better way to make that happen than rolling in putts regardless if there for par or birdie.
I have looked heavily in to course fit, course history, recent form and weighted each of these factors in accordingly when looking in to my picks. I value experience in an event like this and certainly think that it has a style of play that works well
I could so easily name a good few other names I would happily play this week but with such a reduced field I have narrowed it down to those I have highest ownership of.
Justin Rose $11,800 - Bit of a no brainer for me and maybe a little chalky, but just playing stunning golf right now and in my eyes it was obvious and no surprise to see him win his last 2 events. All elements of the game have been impeccable and most crucially he has been taking advantage of the opportunities created and sinking those birdie putts. I also love how the event is set up for JR's character, he will relish in the task of hunting down Tommy for the title and try to grind away at a victory to complete the accomplishment in style. Aside from gut feelings this style of course fits perfectly to the way he plays and he already has 3 top 10's including 2 runner up placings to his name, in his 5 attempts so far.
$10,000 - $11,000
Branden Grace $10,000 - Winning can take a lot out of you but can also inject you with copious amounts of confidence as Justin and Tyrell both recently proved with their back to back wins
$9,000 - $10,000
Victor Dubuisson - $9,700 - I was a little annoyed with myself last week for not playing Victor. I knew he was in a good place and ready to play good golf anyway nothing changes this week other than him featuring well in my line ups. Loves playing this course and has great history here, that with a very pleasing weeks works, if you can call it that for the bizarre little Frenchman could mean that he comfortably places well and adds to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th and 13th he has earned in the last 4 years here.
$8,000 - $9,000
Francesco Molinari - $8,900 - Another player well suited to the course with very pleasing course history and plenty of experience. Played here 8 times and placed inside the top 10 on 4 occasions, these include 2 6th place finishes and 2 4th place finishes. Played well last week but didn't place well mainly caused by a couple of uncharacteristic big numbers. Recent winner in Italy and very capable of winner anywhere he plays with the way he swings the club.
$8,000 - $7,500
Peter Uihlein - $7,800 - Incredible value for a player very capable of scoring big DK points without contending for the lead. Withdraw after 1 round last week in South Africa which hurt a lot of line up's and will no doubt reduce his ownership even with the massive price drop. Been playing great stuff and typically plays well this time in the season. well suited to the course and with 4 great rounds could even be a surprise winner here.
Thomas Pieters - $7,600 - I may as well just start the same way and state the obvious about the great value for this birdie machine, his game starting to look very good again and although results have been ok but not amazing he's still making his fair share of birdies or better. If the mistakes are kept to a minimum and he continues to score well he could score big points.
$7,500 - $7,000
Julian Suri - $7,300 - Great driver of the ball and pin seeking style golfer, can really get on that hot streak and potentially one of the best value players in the field if that putters hot. Been playing great golf of late, with 2 8th place finishes in his last 3 events. This fairer test for him compared to the Gary Players design at Sun city will be much more to his liking and more in tune with his style of play.
Hao-Tong Li - $7,200 - A very impressive final round of 64 in South Africa saw him climb the leader board and place 4th.. He has the low round in him on tough long courses and when he starts to find form he usually continues that on for a few weeks at least. Temperament seems to be the key to his success and after that boost in confidence I'm expecting more good things..
Race to Dubai Outright - Justin Rose - 11/4
First Round Leader - Alex Noren 33/1 and Francesco Molinari 25/1
DP World Tour Championship to Win Outright - Justin Rose 13/2, Thomas Pieters 33/1 ew and Kiradech Aphibarnrat 55/1 ew
Before the season comes to an abrupt end and the new season starts so suddenly I want to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read my write ups, follow me on my journey and support me in my first year as a writer for Tour Junkies, but most importantly I need to put out a huge thanks for helping make the game I love so much even more enjoyable than it already is.
I can't begin to tell you how proud I am to be attached to the TJ brand and how much of an honour it has been writing for you, incredibly I have received nothing but positive comments throughout the season and thankfully not had to suffer a single slaughtering for any bad picks. Just like the beautiful game itself you all have integrity at heart and in it's abundance. When DB and Pat told me I'll be writing for the best fans in the business they couldn't of been more right in their views and exactly why I have signed up for another season and hope to be writing for you all for a very long time to come.
Anyway as always I hope you enjoy this weekends golf, luck is with us all, the season finishes with a bang and were staring at green screens and plenty of play money ready to take in to the new season.