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Michael Taylor 17th Nov 2009 - 14:29

The Race to Dubai reaches its climax

What an end to the year we have on the European Tour as four players are still in with a very realistic shot of topping the prize money rankings, but can any of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer or Ross Fisher stamp their authority by winning the season ending Dubai World Championships?

There are a few permutations for who takes the crown but in general the scenario is simple for all four challengers...win the tournament and the title of biggest prize money winner is yours.

But with the top 58 players on the Tour all gunning for the win nothing is guaranteed on a circuit where surprise champions are almost commonplace.

However, you would have to say straight away that it's baby-faced Northern Irish star McIlroy who looks the most likely of the leading four to take the event after yet another solid appearance at this past week's UBS Hong Kong Open.

He may not have won the event but a sublime final round saw him push eventual winner Gregory Bourdy all the way as McIlroy was forced to settle for second.

It was in stark contrast to his rivals though, in particular Westwood, who never managed to spark and, as such, saw his lead at the top of the standings disappear by a fair margin.

Westwood claimed he didn't get the rub of the green, maybe he was right, but either way he looks an extremely hard man to back at 14/1.

It'll take a monumental turnaround if he's to conquer the beautiful, Greg Norman designed Earth Club, and I'm just not fully sure he has the adaptability in his game to improve sufficiently to win the event.

The same cannot be said of Germany's Martin Kaymer though who may actually be the player of the year even if the money list doesn't say as much.

His back-to-back victories in the Open de France and the Scottish Open back in July catapulted him to the top of the money list and, had it not been for a few missed tournaments due to injury, he could already have claimed the treasured prize.

He's been hard at work getting his game back in order and if he can reach his peak in time he has the ability to be one of the very front runners.

In quite a few senses he's another hard one to back as he has little form to go on.

However, if he arrives in Dubai in the same frame of mind as he was during the summer, then anything is possible - at 12/1 he's certainly risky due to lack of practice but, on the other hand, he could turn out to be the best investment of the year.

As for Fisher, I have to say I'm not fully convinced.

He played unbelievable golf during his recent Volvo World Match Play Championship success but he's found consistency a tough thing to come by at times this season.

Had it not been for brilliant performances in the Mercedes Benz Open and US Open, two of the highest paid events of the year, then he would have been way down the list.

Obviously the positive for backing purposes is that he seems to be a man for the big stage but, with three no-shows in the past three tournaments, he arrives to the Middle East extremely low on confidence.

He's priced at 18/1 and I know that unless he goes low on day one then I won't be tempted into a flutter.

You do have to come back to McIlroy after all this though.

He has the form, the Race to Dubai lead and a calm head for such a youngster.

He's a relatively short 7/1 shot to win this title, but if anybody can thrive under pressure, the form book suggests it's the young Irishman.

If you're a bit reluctant to back anybody outright we do have a great market that may be of interest.

All four contenders have been placed in a special mythical fourball, and, at 7/4, Rory McIlroy just reeks of value - but why not check out this special for yourself?




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