Can Donald be the first to top both Money-Lists in Dubai?
Dubai World Championship
The European Tour Money List Finale
Starts Thursday 03:00 - live on Sky Sports 1 from 08:00
The 2011 European Tour circuit reaches its climax this week at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the Dubai World Championships. All eyes will be concentrated on Luke Donald 9/1 and Rory McIlroy 11/2 who will be battling it out for top spot on the European Tour Money List. Donald holds just under a €800,000 lead over the Northern Irishman, however if McIlroy wins this week on the Earth Course he would scoop €950,000. This would force the World's best golfer to finish in the top nine in order to become the first man to win the money list on both sides of the Atlantic.
The European Tour must be delighted with how events have unfolded. Luke Donald's recent break from the sport has meant that it has gone down to the wire. Not only that, it has come down to the number one and number two on the planet which will be a one up on its counterpart American Tour. Furthermore the 2010 Race to Dubai winner and former world number one and current world number four, Martin Kaymer 12/1, has made an admirable defence and sits in third place. Tournament favourite Lee Westwood 5/1 completes the quartet of the best players in World golf. Another player who has sat as the World's best is in sensational form which was demonstrated with a classy showing in Sun City against a reduced but nonetheless quality twelve man field. All in all, the player who tops the money-list in Europe should be considered the year's best player.
Despite the big build-up, the ball is still very much in the court of the Englishman. Luke Donald has a huge lead and when bearing in mind that he has only finished outside the top-ten three times on the European Tour and that McIlroy has to go out and beat a field that is just about as strong as it gets, (unlike that in the recent Hong Kong Open), then it's clear to see why there is no betting on the outcome of the Race to Dubai.
The market leader is a tad surprising what with McIlroy's situation however Lee Westwood is in fantastic form. His Course record 62 last Saturday at the Nedbank event in South Africa separated him from his peers and highlighted the fact that he is at the top of his game. McIlroy impressed when winning in Hong Kong and that has helped put pressure on the World number one, but it was not a victory like that of Westwood's.
Another surprise is the 9/1 available on Donald. Granted the Englishman has had some time off and will not be at his best but even so to be at that price in a tournament that will define his season and make him the first ever player to top both money lists that price is great value, not to mention the 4/7 for a top ten finish.
Another top bet has to be the 5/1 on offer for Y.E. Yang to be the highest placed rest of the world player. South African Charl Schwartzel 11/4 is the biggest threat to this bet, however he struggled at the Nedbank whilst Yang 40/1 was tied seventh in Hong Kong and looked to be in good touch.
Although it's all about the big names this week the top sixty players in the Race to Dubai standings are at the event. Those who finish in the top fifteen of the money-list standing receive a share of a €7.5 million bonus fund so a victory for a player ranked outside the top fifteen would be extremely lucrative. Of those players the ones to watch would be our own Ian Poulter 22/1 and Paul Casey 18/1, with the latter finishing third to Tiger after recovering from a poor first round at the Chevron as well as South African Hennie Otto 80/1 who recently won down in his home country.
The United Arabs Emirates will be the perfect location to end this year's thrilling European Tour. The course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is in emaculate condition and here at William Hill we will be offering a wide range of pre-tournament betting as well as In-Play markets throughout the event. Let's hope the big names are at the top of the leaderboard and that the World's top four players finish the year off in style.