We head to the Emirates Golf Club for this week’s Dubai Desert Classic.
If the forecast holds true, we’ve got a really windy one on our hands. Winds are forecasted for 25-to-30 mph on both Thursday and Friday with Friday getting gusts at much higher speeds.
Will there be a wave advantage? Golfers that start Thursday AM & Friday PM may get the weakest wind to start but then get blasted with the hardest test in Round 2. The Thursday PM & Friday AM wave will have a tough test on both days. It’s a bit hard to see who will escape with the better draw. If the winds get too nasty on Friday then Thursday AM starters may get lucky and have their second rounds delayed until Saturday.
It’s one of those weeks to throw in a few “Wave Teams” on DraftKings in case one side of the draw gets the clear advantage.
Other than that, this course is rather easy (in calm conditions). It’s a par 72 desert-style layout with bermuda greens. On the European Tour website they were claiming to be running at 13’6″ on Monday! Those kind of speeds should help the ball-strikers more than putters.
Course history is something I’d take a strong look at considering there have been four repeat champs since 2002 (Els, Gallacher, Tiger, Rory).
Players to Watch
Tyrrell Hatton … He’s been impressive overseas but still trying to earn some spotlight. Winning an event that Tiger Woods is playing in would certainly do the trick.
Bernd Wiesberger … Love his consistency. Has a very solid track record at Emirates GC but nothing has really popped yet. If conditions get tough this week, I like his chances to par the course to death.
Rafa Cabrera Bello … RCB won this event in 2012 and finished runner-up last year.
Thorbjorn Olesen … Plenty of big hitters have excelled here in the past. The Dane has a third-place finish on his DDC resume and I like his chances to jump back into contention. He’s very boom-or-bust, though.
Tiger Woods … He’s won here twice, but that was obviously a different Tiger. Shook off the rust last week. Worth a flier or two because I expect him to regain some of his old form very soon.
Lee Westwood … A steady Eddie at this venue. He tends to play well time and time again at the courses he likes.
Courses Horses … Keeping things simple, here are a list of guys that stand out in terms of past performance at the course:
Rafa Cabrera Bello
My Top 25 for the Dubai Desert Classic
1. Bernd Wiesberger
2. Martin Kaymer
3. Henrik Stenson
4. Rafa Cabrera Bello
5. Ross Fisher
6. Chris Wood
7. Lee Westwood
8. Andy Sullivan
9. Tyrrell Hatton
10. Thomas Aiken
11. Graeme McDowell
12. Peter Hanson
13. Tommy Fleetwood
14. Anthony Wall
15. Joost Luiten
16. Maximilian Kieffer
17. Jorge Campillo
18. Pablo Larrazabal
19. Peter Uihlein
20. Robert Rock
21. Danny Willett
22. Nicolas Colsaerts
23. Thomas Pieters
24. Thorbjorn Olesen
25. Stephen Gallacher