Our tips for the 2013 edition of this event will be published on this page on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon! Other Jan 2013 events: Volvo Golf Champions, Qatar Masters & Dubai Desert Classic. In the meantime you can check out our stats pages for Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in our stats section.
Paul Williams' Tips for the 2012 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Follow Us On Twitter @Golfbetting
We move from South Africa to the UAE for the first event in what now reverts to a 3-stage 'Gulf Swing' with the Volvo Champions switching from Bahrain to Fancourt last week. What is now the richest event of the series, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has managed to attract a truly stellar field with the World's top 4 players Donald, Westwood, McIlroy and defending champion Kaymer all in attendance. On top of that there's Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel, PGA Tour raider Jason Day and resurgent duo Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods also on the entry list - this is going to be a real cracker!
This is the 7th successive year for this event at the Abu Dhabi GC on the European Tour and from the 6 previous events we have just 3 winners - three times for Martin Kaymer and twice for the injured Paul Casey, with Chris DiMarco picking up the inaugural trophy in 2006. History suggests that a score in the 20 under bracket is required to win around here, so plodders and par-makers need not apply!
The course itself is an exposed 7,600 yard test of power and putting - despite being toughened up a little in the last few years, there are still plenty of scoring opportunities. Despite being a desert course, the Abu Dhabi GC feels more like a continental Europe parkland course at times and those who favour a bit more space off the tee will feel very much at home here, as will those who enjoy putting on fast Bermuda greens.
Results from the past 6 years would suggest that a top-quality player is going to shine through, however with such a strong field there are some cracking prices on offer a little further down the field. To make your search for a long-priced outsider a little easier, both Paddy Power and Stan James have extended their Each Way terms to 6 places for this week - the only 2 bookmakers to do so at the time of writing - check current odds here: Paddy Power | Stan James
To succeed here, players must be long, play the Gulf swing well (in particular this event and Qatar) and have a positive record on Bermuda greens. Then it will come down to who putts well on the week - some good recent form with the putter is critical - anyone who's flat stick is cold simply won't make the requisite score here. My selections for this week:
It's impossible to ignore the German this week with last 4 years form here of 1/2/1/1 - there's simply no reason to chalk him off the list of obvious contenders for a fourth Abu Dhabi Championship on a course he clearly loves. Current form is strong enough with a win in a high-class field in Shanghai before a creditable 11th in Dubai on a course he's never quite got the measure of. The only way that Kaymer isn't going to win this in my opinion is if there's an incredible performance by one of the other contenders - I really can't see the German not being in the mix and that justifies a strong win-only bet in my opinion with Sporting Bet who are offering top price this week at 13/2.
Writing off the likes of Westwood, Mcilroy and Woods isn't easy, however Kaymer's win ratio is far more impressive than the first two. Woods won his own (18-man) tournament in December, however I suspect he's still progressing towards being fully competitive and I'd expect the German to ultimately triumph on Sunday. RESULT: MC
Sergio missed out on the 2010 Ryder Cup with his game in tatters having fallen out of love with golf - however a couple of years on and I believe we're witnessing the rebirth of one of the game's truly magnificent talents as he attempts to qualify by rights for compatriot Jose Maria Olazabel's team. Back-to-back wins on Spanish soil in the autumn will have proven to him that he still has the game to compete at the highest level - his win at Castellon was particularly impressive as he beat the field by 11 shots on his way to a 27-under total.
Garcia has finished in the top 20 on each of his 4 attempts at Abu Dhabi, his best result being 3rd in 2006. In that time he's notched rounds of 64, 65, a couple of 66s and a whole host of sub-par scores - in fact at 68.5 he ranks 4th in terms of scoring average around here. He can play the course, has the form, has the desire and hunger....if he can keep up with Kaymer then it could be a very close run thing. RESULT: T12
As a relative outsider in this field, the in-form Swede is well worth a look each way at 40/1 with 6 places being paid by Paddy Power. I often make the mistake of categorising Hanson in the 'tough course specialist' category and overlooking him when there's a score to be made - true, his 4 European Tour victories have all been at 10-under or worse, however that's not to say he can't compete in a tournament like this. Scores of -19 (Bahrain), -13 (Castle Stuart), -15 (St Andrews), -16 (Portugal) and -14 (Dubai) in 2011 proves he can achieve the kind of score required to get in the picture here.
The only thing missing from last season's campaign was a victory - only 3 cuts missed and a massive 10 top-10s pushed him into one of the coveted top-15 positions on the Race To Dubai. His season ended with an outstanding form line of 9/6/11/10/33/3/4 and, like Garcia, he'll be looking to continue that form into 2012 as he attempts to make the Ryder Cup team for the second consecutive time. Finished a shot behind Paul Casey here in 2007 and has the form and talent to step up to the plate this week. RESULT: T35
Englishman Lynn makes my team as most eligible outsider and the 125/1 chalked up by Paddy Power with 6 places being paid each way is worth a small investment. The 38 year old almost inexplicably still only has 1 European Tour title to his name (2004 Dutch Open) and is certainly talented enough to improve on that figure before he hangs up his golf shoes.
10th here in 2006 and 5th last year is encouraging, however the man from Stoke found a new level of accuracy off the tee at the latter end of last season and 3 top 6 results in half a dozen tournaments followed by an excellent 16th in Dubai pushed him into the World's top 100 and within reach of the Majors and Majors if he can get off to a flyer in 2012. Lynn was never going to catch runaway leader Martin Kaymer from the penultimate Sunday group last year and it may be a similar story this year, however at over 30/1 the place for a top 6 finish he's well worth a punt here. RESULT: T17
South African Horne jumped out at me during my analysis as a player that must be backed to give us some excitement (and hopefully a nice profit!) on Thursday. With prices ranging from 125/1 for this bet, the 225/1 on offer from Coral stands out as huge value. Horne has played this event twice over the years and on both occasions has lead the field after day 1 - in 2010 his Thursday 65 was good enough for the outright lead, whereas his 66 in 2006 produced a share of the lead. Horne has a habit of producing 1 very good round without backing it up over the remaining 3 days - last season he lead at Celtic Manor after a first round 64 only to capitulate from Friday onwards; 3 starts prior to that he'd led the Volvo China Open with an opening 63. A speculative punt on Horne to be in the mix after day 1 is again the preferred option. RESULT: T18
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:15GMT 24.1.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Our tips, picks and predictions for the 2013 edition of this event will be published here on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon!