DP World Tour Championship 2023 Preview: McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland lead the running

By Bryan Nicholson

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14 November 2023

Both the DP World Tour and PGA Tour seasons wind down this week and the leading 50 available players from the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings as of the conclusion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge will tee it up at the Earth course in Dubai to fight it out for the 10 million dollars prize purse. The Race to Dubai itself has already been wrapped up by Rory McIlroy who played just 9 qualifying events and didn’t need to play the Nedbank. This is the Irishman’s fifth Race to Dubai title.

Rory will tee it up in Dubai and collect his trophy. He leads the market alongside Jon Ram, both priced around the 6.50 mark. Closely behind is Matthew Fitzpatrick 17.0 and these three have won 6 of the last 8 editions on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Rory McIlroy also won here in 2012 so it’s fair to say these guys might be tough to beat.

There’s only 2000 points for the winner this week hence why Rory has already sewn up the Race to Dubai, but can anyone infiltrate the top of the market and lift the DP World Tour Championship Title? Let’s look at the course first….

The Course

The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is a beast at around 7,700 yards playing to a par of 72. It’s not rocket science to figure out the player profile we’re looking for. It’s a risk reward theme, second shot track with generous landing areas. Big undulating greens provide for some tough pins and the track usually plays fast and firm. It’s all about bombing it off the tee and approach proximity - tee to green reigns supreme. Greens are large and elevated with run offs, and sparse rough lines the shorter grasses. Large marble bunkers are a feature throughout and watch out for the finish – an island green par three and a risk versus reward par 5.

The Contenders

Min Woo Lee 20.0 or t10 2.52 has progressive 16, 12 form here from two appearances at the Earth course and on paper he’s a perfect fit. The Aussie comes to Dubai off the back of a win at the Macau Open followed by a t6 at the ZOZO last time out. He’s one for the course fit model this week and plugging in the numbers churn out a rating for Min Woo of 9.16/10 for the Earth Course. This means he’s expected to gain around 5 shots over the tournament versus playing on a neutral course that would negate his assets. Lee ranked 4th in strokes gained total in 2023.

An in-form Nicolai Hojgaard 30.0 or 2.94 is exactly the type of player profile we’re looking for here. Nic is showing progressive form of 64-56-31-2 and finished fourth T4 here on his only appearance at the DP World Tour Championship 2 years ago. Nicolai rates a 9.27 on my progressive form model after his solo 2nd finish in South Africa where he ranked 3rd in driving distance and 12th in approach for the week. Hojgaard is 5th in strokes gained total for the year.

Twin Rasmus Hojgaard, 46.0 or 3.55, led the strokes gained approach and tee to green stats in South Africa last week and the Dane was 2nd in green in reg and 11th in driving distance. Rasmus’ current form reads 25-26-16-6 for a progressive form rating of 9.4. He showed form on the course with a t7 last year here and could easily have won in France recently.

Thorbjorn Olesen 50.0 or 3.65 top 10 was 2nd in strokes gained tee to green at the Nedbank challenge, where he also ranked 10th in strokes gained approach. The Dane was more than an eye-catching 1st in strokes gained off the tee. Current form of 17-9-9-3 means Olesen is a flawless 10.0 on my progressive form model and he has relatively decent course history.

Recommended Bets

Back Min Woo Lee to win @ 20.0 or t10 @ 2.52
Back Nicolai Hojgaard to win @ 30.0 or t10 @ 2.94
Back Rasmus Hojgaard to win @ 46.0 or t10 @ 3.55
Back Thorbjorn Olesen to win @ 50.0 or t10 @ 3.65

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