The European Tour is back in full swing and hosts the Saudi International this week at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.
A host of big names from both sides of the pond will arrive in the desert to complete for the $3.5 price money with $583,330 to the winner.
As is customary, most players try to make full use of both the European and PGA tours and try to accommodate both and this week is no different as the European Tour welcomes World No1 Dustin Johnson, Bryson De Chambeau, Tony Finau and last weeks PGA winner Patrick Reed to name but a few.
The par 70 desert course should not pose many problems for the 138 field so expect a low scoring affair with a birdie fest. Last year's winner Graeme McDowell shot -12 and in 2019 it was Dustin Johnson who carded a -19 winning score.
The weather is forecast to be sunny and warm as one would expect in the desert with Fridays forecast to be more breezy with some light showers.
The key attributes this week will be power and accuracy, I’d expect to see an aggressive type golfer collect the prize come Sunday with a hot putter a certain advantage.
Well done to all who followed my selections at The Farmer’s Insurance last week. Tony Finau 22/1 each-way finished 2nd and Will Zalatoris, Top 20 finish prevailed at 3/1. He also finished 7th so if you were on him each-way as suggested at 60/1 and you managed to find a firm offering 1-7 or 8 place money, as some do, then well done you.
So on to the selections… For my main choice this week and believe me, I don’t like doing this as many of you are aware, I’m going to suggest the man leading the field, but then again, he is the best golfer on the planet just now; World No.1 Dustin Johnson 6/1 each-way at Betfair.
DJ won this event two years ago with a -19 scorecard and was runner-up last year on -10, two behind eventual winner, Graeme McDowell.
It is just near impossible to oppose the talented, big-hitting, humble, American and even more impossible to find any faults or flaws in his game at the moment.
Last year he ran away with The Masters, he won The Northern Trust and The Travelers Championship and in the nineteen events he played at he finished in the Top 10 on no fewer than twelve occasions.
It is a competitive field here this week and with golf being one of the hardest sports to pick winners I feel DJ makes that a little more easier and I think DJ will do what DJ does best and carve up this course for fun, therefore I simply cannot oppose him as I predict he will be a convincing winner come Sunday making the 6/1 on offer not too bad after all.
For my next selection I’m going to look for much more value and for that reason I’m going to suggest Rasmus Hojgaard 66/1 each-way at bet365.
The 19-year-old kid from Denmark has already won two Tour titles; The ISPS Handa UK Championship and The AFRASIA Bank Mauritius Open so he certainly already has that winning mentality especially at such a young age.
He can also back that up proving these victories were no flukes; 6th at The Omar Open, 2nd at the Betfred British Masters, 3rd at The English Championship and 9th last week at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It’s fair to say that the young Dane is a model of consistency and it would be no surprise to see him up there competing with the big boys come Sunday at a very attractive price.
For my next selection I’m going to select a golfer who didn’t disappoint us last week, Tony Finau 18/1 each-way at bet365.
The American just needs to find that finishing touch to close out tournaments and I feel it won’t be much longer.
Another consistent performer on the Tour, Finau is a class act but he admitted in his interview after his final round last week at The Farmers Insurance, it was his putter that failed him yet again. If his putter was much hotter last week Finau would probably have won the tournament instead of setting for a runners up prize.
The week before at The American Express seen another consistent performance, finishing fifth so it’s been an impressive start to the season.
It’s hard to believe that the American hasn’t won a tournament since 2016 but don’t let that put you off. Eighteen Top 10 finishes last season says it all and I can only see Finau winning tournaments soon and go one further to include a major.
5th at The Masters in 2019, 3rd at the last Open Championship, 4th at last year's PGA Championship and 8th at the last US Open, he’s certainly knocking on the door.
I’m backing Finau to have yet another consistent week and be right up there come Sunday possibly collecting that long awaited winners prize.
Dustin Johnson vs Bryson De Chambeau
For my final selection I’m going to pick the world No.1 Dustin Johnson yet again to get the better off Bryson De Chambeau in a 72-hole match bet at 10/11 Nap.