It’s the first Rolex event on the DP World Tour calendar with this week's Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The 132 field will all be teeing off in the desert for a share of the $9M prize purse with the winner collecting the Dubai Desert Classic title & a winning cheque for a cool $1.5M.
The PGA Tour just keeps on delivering for members on Telegram. At the Sony Open in Hawaii, last weekend Russell Henley went close finishing T4th tipped at 22/1 EW & J T Poston also collected more full Each Way returns finishing in 6th place. The matchbet Nap won comfortably after only 36 holes with Will Zalatoris missing the cut on +5 while S W Kim safety made the weekend on -5 to make it another profitable PGA weekend.
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Emirates Golf Club will be playing 7,428 yards long this week, it’s a par 72 desert layout & a big hitters' paradise.
Rory McIlroy returns to defend his title from 2023 & if you remember there were all the shenanigans with Rory & Patrick Reed so it was fitting that it went right down to the wire between the pair with Rory succumbing by a single shot in a dramatic finale. His winning scorecard from last year read 269,-19.
The weather forecasts sunny & warm conditions throughout with breezes peaking at around 20mph.
This event will be screened on Sky Sports Golf & Sky Sports Main Event with live coverage starting at 3.30 am on Thursday morning for the early birds.
So let’s move on with this week's betting tips for the first Rolex event of the year at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Rory McIlroy 10/3 Paddypower
For my first and main selection, I left him alone last week, not this week, it’s the one & only Rory McIlroy 10/3 Paddypower.
My job is to pick winners & it’s not myself who makes up the prices, & yip I agree that this pick isn’t exactly rocket science but after last week when he should have probably won the Dubai Invitational by double digits, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does that this week in the same city.
Rory returns to defend the crown that even Patrick Reed couldn’t put him off from winning last year with all the distractions on & off the course.
I don’t need to tell you all about Rory’s credentials or W’s or stats & figures etc. Excluding The Masters he’s done it all & he could do it all in a canter again this weekend at Emirates Golf Club when he successfully defends his Dubai Desert Crown in style.
Rasmus Hojgaard 22/1 EW Ladbrokes/Coral
For my next best selection I’m sticking with the young Dane again this week & why not after his credible effort at the Dubai International last weekend? Rasmus Hojgaard, 22/1 EW Ladbrokes/Coral, finished T11th not far from here just a few days ago, That's not bad for his first time out in 2024. That’s now five Top 20 finishes for the young Dane at the last seven attempts having finished no worse than 26th at the other two.
That's consistent golf & it usually always pays off more often than not. This Emirates track is a big hitters paradise & Rasmus Hojgaard is definitely improving with his Driving Distance, currently ranked 28th on the DPWT in this department. He’s also ranked 13th for Greens in Regulation & 20th on Stroke Average.
Previously at this event, Rasmus has faired well, he finished inside the Top 20 last year & in 2021 he went even better with a Top 10 finish so he has proven he can shoot some good golf here. I’ve already mentioned that I think this will be a good year for this talented kid & hopefully, he proves me correct with a victory in the desert this weekend.
Nicolai Hojgaard 18/1 EW Betfair 1-8 places
For my final pick in Dubai, I’m not separating the twins, Nicolai Hojgaard 18/1 EW Betfair 1-8 places. If Rory doesn’t win this weekend then it could be either of the twins who’s celebrating in the sunshine on Sunday.
Nicolai’s last two visits to Dubai go something like this: a respectable 25th place first time out last weekend at the Dubai Invitational & winner at the flagship DP World Tour Championship at the end of last year. You’ll be seeing much more of Nicolai on the PGA Tour this year after securing his PGA Tour card & I’m quite sure his brother will be joining him next year. He was also runner-up at the Nedbank Golf Challenge just before the DP World Tour Championship & finished 3rd at the Czech Masters just before that. 5th at the European Masters & 14th at the Wyndham Championship are all in amongst the nine tournaments mentioned above.
He has another half dozen Top 10 finishes in 2023 with the pick of the bunch being runner-up at the Corales Puntacana Championship but 6th at the Scottish Open & 5th place finishes at both the Italian Open & Thailand Classic are also worth a mention. This course is all set up for Nicolai’s game & he could bomb his way around here with the Driver where he ranks 5th on the DPWT for Driving Distance & then it’s all about a hot putter where he ranks 6th on Tour for Putts per Gir.
I think Rory will win this comfortably but if he decides not to show up then it could be one of the Hojgaard twins, which one?
Dubai Desert Classic Tips
- Rory McIlroy 10/3 Paddypower
- Rasmus Hojgaard 22/1 EW Ladbrokes/Coral
- Nicolai Hojgaard 18/1 EW Betfair 1-8 places