The European Tour season is coming to a close this week, with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai marking the final official event on the schedule and the culmination of the Race to Dubai.
Jumeirah Golf Estates welcomes a field of the top 50 available players from the Race to Dubai standings, offering an $8 million purse and the largest single tournament first-place payout in professional golf at $3 million. Add to the tournament payout that the Race to Dubai will pay $5 million to the top five players in the season-ending standings after this week -- including $2 million to the winner -- and there is a lot of money on the line.
On the eve of the tournament, then, which players do punters like to win the 2019 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai?
With a limited field, there are limited choices on the board. In these events with smaller fields, the favorites typically get even shorter odds, and that's true of this week's favorite. Rory McIlroy has been as low as a 7-to-2 (+350) favorite, but he has more or less settled around +400 in the days leading into the tournament. McIlroy is the only multi-time winner of this tournament, which dates back to 2009, and he's the world's best player at the moment. No wonder his odds aren't that great.
McIlroy may also be more interested in winning the DP World Tour Championship because he cannot win the Race to Dubai. Even with a win at Jumeirah Golf Estates, McIlroy could not catch the leader, Bernd Wiesberger, on points. Even if McIlroy could have caught Wiesberger, McIlroy has not made enough European Tour starts to qualify for the season-long bonus pool. While McIlroy is ranked sixth in the Race to Dubai standings, he cannot claim a portion of the bonus pool. That means his compelling motivation this week is to win the tournament and the $3 million first-place check. Go for broke. There's no reason to play safe, which is perfect for McIlroy.
Jon Rahm, who won this tournament in 2017, comes in as a 6-to-1 second fiddle to McIlroy in most sportsbooks. Rahm has a penchant for winning on the European Tour in Rolex Series events. He has his 2017 win in this event, two wins in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and a pair of Spanish Open wins. He likes taking on the better fields for bigger purses.
Tommy Fleetwood is ranked second in the Race to Dubai coming into the DP World Tour Championship Dubai, and he has the most options of any of the top five Race to Dubai contenders to pass Bernd Wiesberger for the season-long points race. Fleetwood, who won $2.5 million last week in taking the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, has 12-to-1 odds this week in Dubai. Could he go back-to-back, win in Dubai, take the Race to Dubai and claim $7.5 million in just two weeks? It sounds like a dream scenario.
For bettors looking to place a wager before the tournament starts, they'll need to find the right payment methods for them to make a deposit. However, no matter how they pay for their action, it's probably wise to favor the favorites this week.