DP World Championship 2020
Just a quick note re prices, getting on etc. It’s been a bit of a pain in the ass of a Tuesday lately trying to get on, as bookies in Ireland have been closed. With PP/Boyles etc now back open, it will become easier. I am not 100% of the current situation in the UK. I would however advise getting on in shops where possible. Take last week for example. €200 on Aaron Wise online will set off a trigger. Few of those, and he will be cut. You will get more on in shops without alerting the hedge trimmers as quickly. Obviously shops aren’t always viable for one reason or another, but it is something to bear in mind. I don’t think my service will affect prices to anywhere near the extent of your more famous tipsters. Bookies will have Ben Coley selections cut before Ben even presses send. I imagine less than 1% of his readers attain the prices advertised. I currently have 41 people signed up for next year, and will always be conscious of not going over a number that I deem acceptable to keep the prices real. This is the reason I am ending my arrangement with Paul Jones at the end of this year, so my direct subscribers are more assured of getting on at the prices I publish.
On the subject of next year, I do hope to see you all back on board for what will hopefully be my 5th consecutive successful year since embarking on these previews. There will be 35 events throughout the year, and as ever I will put forward what I deem to be the best value bets of the week, and strive to add to the near 450pt profit since the outset. I do feel €100 is very fair for the work put in, and the results to date.
I would also like to thank you all for taking the time to read my ramblings throughout another year. And also to wish all the best to those who may not choose to continue with me.
Another profitable week, where Aaron Wise was never in any real danger of not landing a confident Top 20 selection. Indeed he looked likely to take top prize for much of the closing holes on Sunday. It was a shade disappointing that Justin Thomas didn’t deliver us a place dividend, his Sunday play was just too careless to mount a proper challenge. Rickie Fowler again showed much promise amidst a missed cut, but Rory Sabbatini did reward each way support as he finished runner up in the Top Continental Euro section. It was a distant second though, as Viktor Hovland made a nonsense out of any fears I had about the suitability of the venue for him. It was great to see such a talent notch another win on Tour. Maybe a tad painful as I have been with him so often this term, and rate him higher than any other young talent in the game, but I am all about price and he just didn’t fit the criteria last week.
We head to the European Tour and Dubai to finish what has been a year like no other. It’s testament to both Tours that they have managed to keep the show fully on the road since the resumption in June, and such has been the efficiency of the operations I see no problem going forward into 2021. It’s later than in previous years, but once again the DP World Championship will wind up the European Tour season. Coming to us from the familiar home of Jumeirah Golf Estates Earth Course, most regular viewers will know the layout very well indeed. A 7670 yard Par 72, it is one of the longest the players tee it up on all year, but shorter hitters have had their share of success here also. It has to be a big disappointment to organisers that a brace of two time winners in Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm aren’t bothered in showing up, and the plenty of the superstar aspect of the field disappears with them. As much as Matt Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be the longest off the tee, and other shorter hitters like Francesco Molinari have thrived here, length will certainly be an advantage. There is nothing adverse in the current weather forecast, but with warm lead in conditions and the promise of it to continue, I can see the greens playing plenty quick enough.They can prove tricky at pace.
Players of Interest:
It might be rude to call them second tier, especially the likes of Tyrrell Hatton given he lies in the Top 10 in the world currently, but there are a glut of players near the head of the market here who are just shy of the superstar status and ability of the like of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm. Hatton will have his supporters for sure, and had he been a 16/1 shot I may have been one of them. The 12/1 on offer though seems a shade on the tight side, and I can leave him alone here.
Tommy Fleetwood falls into a similar category. Runner up here last year, he has been somewhat below his best of late, and it would be a slight leap of faith to expect him to find that best for this season finale. It has to be said that when appearing in Europe, he has been consistently competitive. Given how laboured he has been stateside, it just highlights the gulf in class between Tours. Taking into consideration his slow starting tendencies, quotes of 14/1 do nothing for me.
Collin Morikawa could well join the four named above as a bona fide legend of the game, but like Fleetwood he has been operating some way below his best recently, and with the disadvantage of a course debut to overcome I am not interested in him this week.
Viktor Hovland was superb in victory on Sunday, and I was delighted to see him close it out. He may go around happy as Larry looking like he is out for a round with friends, but he knows how to get the job done. He will win majors, of that I have little doubt. He will also in my opinion prove to be the best player this field has to offer, but maybe it might be too big an ask this week. Winning takes it out of you, and so too will the trip from Mexico. Making his debut here, he will have little time to acclimatise. I can leave him be.
I do like to side with a ‘class’ option when the more elite of the PGA Tour make the journey to tee it up alongside their European counterparts. There is a big gulf between what happens weekly on each side of the Atlantic, and aside from the top 10 or 15 in the betting here, not many can dream of being in the class of PATRICK REED. It is rare enough that I will put up the tournament favourite, and extremely rare indeed that I will do so two weeks running, but that can’t put me off the brash American here. I said prior to the Masters how I have backed Fat Pat more often than any other player this year, but he once again added to the coffers there. He is consistently overpriced due to the average golf bettor simply preferring not to back him, due to nothing whatsoever to do with his golfing ability. He may never quite be a DJ, or a Rory or JT, with that ability to obliterate a field with a burst of low scoring, but he is ultra consistent at the top level. And the level he is at is quite simply a notch above what most of this field has to contend with week in week out.
10th at The Masters, other Top 10s at The Memorial, Wyndham and Tour Championship, alongside Top 20’s at the Zozo, US Open and USPGA, and all this since mid August he really has been consistently very very good of late. That level will take a deal of beating here. He has travelled to European shores in this time period too, taking 3rd place in the BMW at Wentworth. He did struggle at the weekend there, but getting over the line is something I would never worry about with Reed. Runner up here in 2018, and further Top 10s in 2017 and 2015 from just 4 outings, and it is clear to see the layout holds no fears for him. I have my reservations about those directly behind him in the market, and they are helping make him what I deem to be a very attractive price at 9/1. In a field of just 65 starters, with little in the way of real strength in depth, the 7 places on offer are also very generous. I am having a slightly bigger bet than normal for one of his price. He seems sure to give us a run for our money.
Cristiian Bezuidenhout is a player I have plenty of time for, and I have argued the case for him a couple of times this season (I still feel aggrieved about the Top South African bet at the abandoned Players Championship!). He comes here fresh off back to back wins the past two weeks, and his confidence is no doubt soaring. What he achieved in victory in South Africa last week is open to debate as it was a very poor field, but it did show he hadn’t let his own standards slip after his win at Leopard Creek. The market has well and truly found him ahead of this week’s examination though, and after missing a brace of weddings, I don’t fancy an expensive funeral.
As was the case last week I won’t be over egging the pie in the Outright Market, and one of just two other recommendations here is ANDY SULLIVAN. The Englishman really should have won at the neighboring Fire Course last week, but at odds of 28/1 I am more than willing to bet that he can reverse that disappointment here. There are plenty of examples through the 33 year olds career of gluts of decent performances when he hits form. I would expect him to continue the form from last week in here, and that will give him every chance of glory. Just three starts ago, he was finishing third at Wentworth, and I would rate this field a shade weaker on the whole. I believe strong current form will be prevalent amongst all those who are to contend this week. Runner up here in 2015, he also bagged a Top 10 last term in a deeper field than this. A couple of questionable shot selections were the difference between winning and losing last week. That 3rd place finish in the BMW came from off the pace on Sunday, and
interviews last week suggested he might have been just slightly shy on self belief about getting the job done. That experience of being back in the Sunday mix can only help him ahead of this task. Plenty of birdies will be required to be successful here, and Sullivan can mix it with the best when it comes to scoring streaks. I expect him to go very close once again.
I definitely want DANNY WILLETT onside this week, and in a similar scenario to Aaron Wise in Mexico, it was a debate between here in the outright or the Top 20 market. I will discuss later why I haven’t included him there. Willett is a former Masters winner, who also has a previous win in this event from 2018. Given how much promise he displayed on his return to Augusta a few weeks ago, his price here seems on the big side. I mentioned then that he might be one to keep an eye on for the late European Tour events, and I feel now is the time to invest in his chances.
Though only in a tie for 30th on this estate last week, he gained only 4 fewer shots on the course than the winner. There were simply too many errors, but as Rory McIlroy alluded to recently, it’s easier to eradicate the bad stuff than find the good. Danny is playing some excellent golf, and if those errors can be minimised this week, he will have a right chance of landing a second title here. Indeed for much of the 4 days at The Masters he looked like being the prime danger to Reed in the Top Former Winner section. There certainly seems to be a trend with him of late of being really up for the events where he feels he has a chance of glory, or where he has ‘previous’. That win in 2018 is far from his only top notch performance here, as he backed it up with a 5th place finish 12 months ago, and was also 4th in 2015. He clearly relishes his time in this part of the world, and the 55/1 on offer seems a few strokes too big.
That is it in the Outright Market. Again when so keen on a shorter priced one, there seems little reason to be throwing too many darts at the board.
I have tossed up the notion of a few bets this week, but in the end have come down on the side of playing in just the one market. I will first however go through the couple who I decided against, and the reasons why.
With Collin Morikawa making his debut here, and having been struggling somewhat to rediscover the brilliance he showed when winning the PGA, PATRICK REED appears to be something of a penalty kick. John Catlin has an extended absence to overcome, and also makes his debut here. Sean Crocker I would imagine would be delighted with a mid table finish. Reed seems highly likely to be there or thereabouts come Sunday afternoon, and I would expect this alone to be enough to land this section. The reason I am not putting him up is he is only even money with one firm, and that happens to be Skybet. For those that can get on, I would certainly recommend it, but I don’t imagine a high percentage of readers would be able to. In this instance I wouldn’t think it fair to be putting him up. There is a good bit of 10/11 available, and plenty of 5-6, both prices I deem acceptable but I steered clear of putting up odds on shots over the years so won’t buck that trend now. I would make him an 8/13 shot.
Top 20 Finish:
I was really keen to play DANNY WILLETT here, but in a similar situation to the Top American market, the price I wanted to warrant putting him up is available with the wrong firms. Unibet/888 go 6/4 on the Englishman to land this bet, and that is the minimum price I would recommend backing him at. I just don’t feel that many can get on with those firms, so will not be putting him up. For those that can avail of it, I would suggest doing so. As of yet, there is no real liquidity in the exchange market on Betfair, but I would hope that if potential bettors let that market form properly before diving in, that many including myself can get on there. *Since I wrote this a couple of hours ago, bits of 2.56/2.58 have appeared on the machine. Personally I will wait until the market forms properly. If everyone does that, more will get on, and at a bigger price. Patience is a virtue. Apparently!
Top Continental European:
So it’s to a market that has given us much success this year, that I go for the year’s final bets. As was the case last week, I am swerving market leader Viktor Hovland. In reality I actually feel this layout is more up his street than El Camaleon, but there are negatives involved. He does make his debut here, he has a long flight from Mexico to overcome, and won’t have seen the course until today. Though it hasn’t been long since his maiden win on Tour, he wil have been very eager to bag his second to keep tabs on the likes of Morikawa, and not become another Tony Finau. I suspect Sunday will have taken plenty out of him mentally. It’s a big ask to reproduce that excellence here in my opinion.
As you would expect for a European Tour event, there are far more contenders in this section than is typically the case on the other side of the pond. I did view both Bernd Wiesberger and Thomas Pieters as under priced in the outright market, and this has filtered through to here.
There are two players who I think are worth playing against the market leaders, and the first of those is two time champ, HENRIK STENSON. I have been pretty much dead set against the Swede the past few months, but there was more than a spark displayed at the RSM Classic on his most recent outing. A final round 63 came courtesy of an excellent round on the greens, but a 63 is still a 63 and can have served as a massive confidence booster ahead of his return to what must be his favourite tournament of the year. A winner here in 2013 and 2014, he also has 3 other Top 12 finishes in his last 7 appearances here. Any one of those will likely give us at least a place dividend here. Making the weekend has been a struggle for Henrik of late, with him having missed 5 of 7 cuts since the 2021 season officially began. On the two occasions he has played 4 rounds, the results have been decent. There is no cut here, and he will surely be relishing his return. 16/1 seems quite a bit too big to me all things considered.
Another worthy of support in this section is recent winner JB Hansen. That win in Joburg was his first on the European Tour, but it can have come as no surprise given the Dane’s recent progress. He had gone close to shedding his maiden tag before, with close calls at previous Scottish and French Opens. They suggest he is more than capable of raising his game for the bigger occasions, and his level has gone up across the board in recent weeks. His 7th place finish at this year’s flagship event at Wentworth offered further proof that JB can mix it with the best this side of the Atlantic. He made his debut here last year, and in a solid display finished in a share of 36th, and under par for the week. He will need to improve on that to land our bet, but recent displays suggest that is more likely than not. Given his excellent recent form, I feel he has been dismissed too quickly by the market here. Top price of 25/1 to land this section is very big indeed in my eyes.
That’s it for me for 2020!
4pts ew Patrick Reed 9/1 (⅕ odds 7 places, WH) *Betway also 9/1, 6 places – 15/2 and upwards acceptable 1.1pt ew Andy Sullivan 28/1 (⅕ odds 7 places, WH/Betfred) *30/1 5 places with 365 also fine .6pt ew Danny Willett 55/1 (¼ odds 5 places, 365/888/Unibet) *50/1 and upwards acceptable Top Continental Euro:
1.5pts ew Henrik Stenson 16/1 (¼ odds 3 places, 365) *12/1 and upwards acceptable
1pt ew JB Hansen 25/1 (⅕ odds 4 places, PP/BFSB/Betway)
Running Totals 2020:
Thanks again for reading throughout the year. I hope to be writing for you all again in a month’s time for the Tournament of Champions. Until then have a Happy Christmas, and hopefully 2021 doesn’t bring the same shenanigans as 2020!