2023 DP World Tour Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
Rory McIlroy returns to Dubai this week in search of a third DP World Tour Championship title and with a fifth Harry Vardon Trophy already secured at the final Rolex Series event of the 2023 DP World Tour season.
And the Northern Irishman is joined by a who’s who of European golf, as you would expect for such a prestigious tournament.
The reigning European Number One leads the Race to Dubai Rankings thanks to his two Rolex Series victories earlier this season at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and Genesis Scottish Open. He has been at the top of the rankings since the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play in March and cannot be caught by second-placed Jon Rahm.
McIlroy will start the week as favourite but he has played no competitive golf since starring for Europe at the Ryder Cup, where he finished the week with four points as part of Luke Donald’s victorious team. And that also applies to several others in the field.
The famous Earth Course has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the McIlroy, who has won the DP World Tour Championship twice and finished top of the season-long standings in 2012, 2014, 2015 and most recently in 2022, etching his name alongside England’s Peter Oosterhuis as a four-time winner of the prestigious title. He has now made that five and has Colin Montgomerie's record of eight in his sights.
Rahm has enjoyed a spectacular season, the highlight of which was his win at The Masters in April.
McIlroy said: "Playing at the DP World Tour Championship is always an amazing experience. Over the years, I've been fortunate to enjoy a lot of success in Dubai and at this event in particular.
“The fans have been great, it’s amazing to have that support out there for us. When you have the top 50 golfers from the DP World Tour, you know it is going to be a fantastic competition. I’ve won here on a couple of occasions and I would love to be right there come Sunday with both trophies to my name.”
Ryder Cup stars Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Nicolai Hojgaard, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, Robert MacIntyre and Sepp Straka all hope to have something to say about the outcome in Dubai.
Fleetwood, who secured the Ryder Cup for Europe when he was guaranteed at least half a point in his match against Rickie Fowler, said: “Dubai has a special place in my heart, both as my home away from England and the home to one of my academies.
“I’ve played a number of tournaments here at Jumeirah Golf Estates and I look forward to DP World Tour Championship. The fans have been unbelievable over the years and it has been amazing to witness it grow over time with all the activities available for kids and families, plus some pretty decent golfers.
"It’s an exciting tournament and I can’t wait to have some of my Ryder Cup teammates here as well, it is going to be another special week.”
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox is riding high in the rankings after another wonderful season. His victory at the BMW PGA Championship has seen him rise in the world rankings and during a purple patch he also finished tied third at the Irish Open and tied second in his defence of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He has had mixed fortunes in America but will definitely regard this as having been another fine season.
This may bring the curtain down on the 2023 season but things kick off again next week, with the Australian PGA Championship and Joburg Open.
All logic dictates that Rory McIlroy is going to be the man everybody has to beat this week. He has the Race to Dubai sewn up and will be able to go out and relax on a course he loves. But he has played no competitive golf for almost two months. The most obvious challenger is Jon Rahm, but Matthew Fitzpatrick is another course specialist. He is a two-time winner of this tournament.
It was won in 2015 by Rory McIlroy, in 2016 and 2020 by Matthew Fitzpatrick, in 2017, 2019 and 2022 by Jon Rahm, in 2018 by Danny Willett and in 2021 by Collin Morikawa.
The Earth Course has been carved out of the desert and is a par 72 measuring 7,605 yards. It features plenty of sand, many water hazards, large undulating greens and many strategically-placed trees.
Rory McIlroy. Will relish the challenge
Jon Rahm. Loves Dubai almost as much as McIlroy
Adrian Meronk. Still smarting from Ryder Cup snub
Five to Follow:
Rory McIlroy. If he drives well he is almost impossible to beat
Jon Rahm. Would love to beat McIlroy again
Adrian Meronk. Brilliant ball striker
Matthew Fitzpatrick. Another course specialist
Min Woo Lee. Hugely underrated
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
comments powered by Disqus