For a long time the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club was the premier Gulf tournament, but over the years it has been superseded in prize money and quality of field by events in both Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
The top two in the world both played in the latter, while numbers four and five teed it up last week in Doha. Still, with former world number one Lee Westwood playing for the first time in 2013 and Sergio Garcia also staying on in the Middle East after his near miss across the border on Saturday, there is plenty of value to be had for punters.
The fact that Westwood (7/1) and Garcia (6/1) take out the best part of 30 per cent of the book suggests there are bigger prices on offer about some in-form golfers. I couldn’t really put anyone off Garcia, as he is the clear form pick after a win, a second and a fourth-place finish in his last three starts. But he is less than half the price he was a week ago at a venue he has failed to make the top ten at.
Thongchai Jaidee just keeps playing well and cannot be ignored this week at 25/1. He’s not been out of the top ten in any of his last four starts while he can boast three top tens at Emirates.
The Thai golfer scrambles well and is long off the tee, key attributes at this week’s venue which should also suit Joost Luiten (40/1), who caught the eye with a season opening sixth at Abu Dhabi.
Lastly, Henrik Stenson (14/1) is given another chance to re-kindle past Gulf glories. Five straight top tens at Emirates including victory in 2007 prove he can play the track, while three top 25s in three 2013 starts bodes well.
My three of the tee – Jaidee, Luiten and Stenson.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date