By News Team
22nd January 2020
Golf fans are spoilt for choice this week with European action in Dubai, while there is a stellar field assembled for the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour. Here is our look ahead to both tournaments.
Dubai Desert Classic: Wiesberger to go well again
Though it was his 44th career victory, Lee Westwood’s win in Abu Dhabi last week was seen by many as a bit of a surprise. He got the job done in pretty impressive fashion and it’s one of his playing partners from the final round who is fancied to go well here in Dubai.
Having surged into contention with a Saturday 65, Bernd Wiesberger closed with a disappointing 72 to finish in a tie for eighth last week. It wasn’t that long ago that he was in the golfing doldrums, but since returning from injury he has become one of the most consistent players on the European Tour. He came within a whisker of winning the Race To Dubai title, having won three times in 2019 and with two top 10s in his last three starts, he’s in good form too.
His form at the Emirates Golf Club is varied, though he did finish ninth in 2014 and fourth in 2015. He’s one of the hottest golfers around at the moment, so it’s quite surprising to see him still available at 25/1 and with William Hill’s six places, that’s a price that should be snapped up.
Farmers Insurance Open: Matsuyama can make long-awaited return to winners’ circle
Looking back through the Farmers Insurance Open’s role of honour, there appears to be a trend where a player gradually gets to grips with Torrey Pines before getting over the line. Take last year’s winner Justin Rose for example, who having missed two consecutive cuts in San Diego, finished fourth and eighth before his victory 12 months ago.
Taking this into account, Hideki Matsuyama looks of serious interest at 18/1. Sixteenth on debut here in 2014, Matsuyama then missed the cut twice in a row but has trended in an upward direction since. He finished 33rd in 2017, 12th in 2018 and third in 2019, so clearly seems to be getting the hang of it.
He comes into this after a 12th placed finish at the Sony Open, where having shot an opening 74, he was always playing catch-up so did well to finish as high as he did. 67, 67 and 66 show the game is in good shape and perhaps most encouraging for his supporters this week is that this is a venue where the putter is the least important factor.
Last year’s winner, Rose, finished the week eighth in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation and only 28th in strokes-gained putting, while the three previous winners Jason Day, Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker ranked 31st, 37th and 30th respectively in SGP. The flat stick is often Matsuyama’s hindrance and with that not being so much of a contributory factor here, he must surely go well.
Have a listen to our latest golf podcast where we preview both of this week’s tournaments.