The European Tour gets underway this week with the Abu Dhabi Championship in the United Arab Emirates with a host of big guns to entertain us.
This Abu Dhabi Golf Club Resort is nothing short of spectacular and has been modified by the tournament's organisers with additional bunkers, tightened fairways, a few pushed back tees and thicker rough as well as plenty water in play to make conditions much more difficult.
The par 72 desert track will provide plenty of exciting moments for the 132-field competing for the $8million prize money with $1,333,280 to the winner.
Be sure to place any pre-tournament bets by 3.30am on Thursday morning.
The weather is forecast to be sunny all week with wind picking up, especially in the afternoons every day throughout the tournament so it may pay dividends to check some earlier tee times to gain an advantage.
Lee Westwood returns to defend the title he won last year defeating Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Victor Perez by two shots.
However, his task will not be an easy one with big hitters like Rory McIlroy on his season debut and also the likes of last year's runner up Tommy Fleetwood, the in-form Tyrrell Hatton and the on-fire Justin Thomas also looking for glory on this desert course.
I’m going to stay clear if the big two in the market as I don’t think either represents any value. They may also go on to make me eat these words but since McIlroy hasn’t played any competitive golf since The Masters as well as playing with a new driver this week and Justin Thomas, who will be debuting on this course in unfamiliar territory, I just feel that the 6/1 and 13/2 respectively on offer may just be a tad on the short side and opens the door to look around for some decent value.
So let’s get on with the first European Tour selections of the year. For my first pick I’m going to suggest Martin Kaymer 35/1 each-way at bet365.
The German's European Tour form has been nothing short of excellent, it’s no wonder he is a double major champion winning both the PGA and US Open.
Kaymer finished in the top ten in nine events last year with six of those in the top five so I think 35/1 represents amazing each-way value.
Kaymer ended 2020 as the European Tour's leader in strokes gained approach and with his new improved putting technique I can only see Kaymer being amongst the leading contenders come Sunday.
Let’s not forget he has also won this tournament on two occasions so certainly knows what is needed to win around this desert venue.
For my next selection I’m going to remain patriotic and select one of our very own, Robert MacIntyre 42/1 each-way at Betfair.
The Scotsman finished in the top 20 on no less than twenty occasions on last year's Tour card on his way to winning The Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Shootout.
He finished runner-up twice at The Made in Denmark and Betfred British Masters.
The week before his victory in Cyprus he was so unlucky to finish 3rd at The Cyprus Open.
MacIntyre has been nothing but consistent and has won in the heat before in familiar desert surroundings winning the Sahara Kuwait Golf Championship in 2017.
The Scot is currently ranked 51st in the world rankings and if he can squeeze into the Top 50 then he will be eligible to a whole host of treats and possibilities including an invitation to The Masters.
Let’s hope the Scotsman treats us to another consistent performance lifting the trophy and $1,333,280 prize money on Sunday afternoon.
For my next selection I’m going to choose Victor Perez 48/1 each-way at Betfair.
The 28 year-old Frenchman is yet another who had a consistent 2020. He started off winning The Alfred Dunhill Championship, he finished fourth in his World Golf Championship debut and only lost out to be defeated in a play-off at The Turkish Airlines Open.
He finished the year on a high at The DP World Tour Championship in Dubai and I can only see the young Frenchman go on to better things this year.
Perez finished 2nd at this event last year carding a final round 63 so if he can produce that kind of form this week then that 48/1 each-way looks absolutely huge.
Andy Sullivan v Sami Valimaki
For my final selection I’m going to pick a matchbet. Andy Sullivan to beat Sami Valimaki 10/11 Nap bet365.
I just feel Sullivan, another to have a successful 2020 definitely has the form in his favour to overcome the Finn in a 72 hole matchbet.