Now in its fourth year, the World Tour Championship is the climax of the European Tour’s Race To Dubai, which replaced the Order of Merit in 2009. The tournament features the top 60 money winners on this season’s European Tour following the Hong Kong Open, with $8,000,000 up for grabs in the event on the Earth Course of the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Lee Westwood won the inaugural World Tour Championship in dominant fashion, shooting rounds of 66, 69, 66 and 64 to finish 23 under par on 265, six strokes ahead of Ross McGowan, with Rory McIlroy another two back in third. Westwood’s tournament score still stands as the record.
Westwood made an excellent defence of the World Tour Championship in 2010 but he finished one shot out of the play-off for first that featured Robert Karlsson and Ian Poulter. Karlsson and Poulter, both of whom had been 14 under par after 72 holes, went down the 18th hole in the title decider. Both of them birdied it the first time but Poulter bogied it the second time and Karlsson’s holed a birdie to take out the event and the massive pay cheque.
Karlsson just missed on the World Tour Championship top 10 in 2011, with Alvaro Quiros landing something of a surprise by winning the tournament with a 19-under-par total of 269, two shots better than Paul Lawrie, with Luke Donald third.
World number one McIlroy heads the World Tour Championship betting at odds of around 6-1 but, with the Race To Dubai honours stitched up and the Northern Irishman blaming his Hong Kong Open missed cut on tiredness, he does not make sufficient appeal to get involved at his short price.
By and large, the cream rises to the top in the World Tour Championship so it makes sense to focus on the top of the market and look for golfers who have triumphed this year – the three previous champions had broken their annual duck before arriving in Dubai – are in decent nick, have shown good form in desert conditions and can shoot low scores.
The recommended World Tour Championship three off the tee are, in ascending order of odds, Louis Oosthuizen at around 10-1, Poulter at around 14-1 and Peter Hanson at around 20-1. One could dutch the three and obtain nearly 4-1.
Oosthuizen has been knocking on the door for several weeks, with his last four events producing four top-six finishes, including a heart-breaking second in the Singapore Open two weeks ago after he gave way to Matteo Mansassero after three play-off holes. Apart from not winning since taking out the Malaysian Open in April 2012, it is difficult to criticise Oosthuizen’s form and he has played well in the desert many times before. For example, his three-year World Tour Championship figures read 12th, 13th and sixth.
Poulter has been playing out of skin since being Europe’s star performer in its sensational Ryder Cup victory, with three consecutive top-four finishes over the past month or so. Golf’s ultimate confidence player is, arguably, the hottest golfer in the world right now and he has decent course form having almost won the 2010 World Tour Championship. He is almost impossible to overlook.
Hanson gets the third and final vote. He has won two of his last four tournaments, possesses World Tour Championship form figures of ninth, 13th and fourth and has the ability to shoot very low scores because he is ranked so highly on the European Tour’s various putting statistics. Going low is going to be important given that the average World Tour Championship winning score has been better than 18 under par. The winner will have to shoot rounds in the mid 60s.
Betting offer specialist Paddy Power has the best World Tour Championship deal. The Ireland-based bookmaker will refund losing outright bets on the golfer(s) who finishes second if the winner is an Englishman. The offer applies to win-only and the win part of each-way bets, with the maximum refund per client being either 100 British pounds or 100 euro.
There are 11 English golfers entered in the World Tour Championship field, with Paddy Power quoting Donald at around 9-1, Poulter at around 14-1, Westwood at around 14-1, Justin Rose at around 18-1, Chris Wood at around 50-1, Simon Dyson at around 80-1, Danny Willett at around 125-1, David Lynn at around 150-1, Richard Finch at around 200-1, Robert Rock at around 200-1 and Lee Slattery at around 200-1.
At the time of writing, the total percentage of Paddy Power’s World Tour Championship market was 137.46, with English golfers accounting for 34.74. Therefore, the true odds of an Englishman winning the tournament, according to Paddy Power’s compilers, is pretty close to the 3-1 mark.
What are the approximate odds of a specific golfer finishing either second on his own or in a tie for second? Well, for the sake of argument, let one assume that it is around the same as that golfer’s win price. In reality, it would be shorter because of the potential for second-place ties.
So, if one backs Oosthuizen at around 10-1 with Paddy Power (www.paddypower.com), the rough chance of the bookmaker’s special offer saving one’s bacon after a near miss is about 40-1 and certainly not any shorter than 25-1, which equates to a 4% chance.
Paddy Power’s World Tour Championship betting offer is not the best to come out of the bookmaker’s office but it is better than nothing. If a golfer whom you want to back is top price with Paddy Power, take advantage of the deal as there is some value to it. Something is better than nothing. Otherwise, we think you can get some value by taking advantage of a top bookies sign up bonus and following our tips above. Here is a table with the best bookmakers online this year.
Oppose the favourite
McIlroy missed the Hong Kong Open cut and complained that he was fatigued as a result of his incredible year. There will be better times to back the world’s top-ranked golfer.
Back Oosthuizen in head to heads
Some bookmakers have put up Oosthuizen versus either McIlroy or Rose in 72-hole tournament match betting. The case against McIlroy is obvious, while Rose has only played in one World Tour Championship and he finished in 50th spot.
Support Hanson in exotics
Hanson is around 11-8 to make the World Tour Championship top 10 – his average finishing position in the event is better than ninth – and he appeals at around 2-1 to be the top Scandinavian and at around 7-1 to be the top continental European. He stands out in both of those restricted fields.