Dubai Desert Classic 08
Successful golf punter Tom Allen previews the latest action.
Tiger hops on his private jet this week and heads east for the Dubai Desert Classic where he is a shade of odds on to record yet another victory. He lagged up last week at Torrey Pines, when nobody got anywhere near him, and I couldn’t put people off wanting to double their money over four days by backing him. That said, it’s all about spotting value and while the 2.40, to me, looked generous last week in California, a fraction under 2.00 doesn’t hold anywhere near as much appeal this time around.
There’s no point pretending that Woods has no chance, that’s clearly not the case and he is by far the most likely winner, but I’m taking him on because there’s no doubt that the big boys on the European Tour love getting stuck into him. That’s certainly not the case on the PGA Tour, where the pampered college graduates always run scared, and we have seen in this very event in the past how vulnerable Woods can be.
A record of 3-1-5-2 here is certainly nothing to be sniffed at, but by Tiger’s high standards that is only mediocre and I’ll never forget the way he blew it at the 72nd hole in 2001 when letting Thomas Bjorn in. He never threatened in 04, when Mark O’Meara triumphed, and Henrik Stenson repelled him last year.
Tiger’s sole triumph came in 2006, when defeating Ernie Els in a playoff, and it is his victim that day that I want to be with. I’ve just about forgiven him for making a complete hash of the Alfred Dunhill, an eight down the last had to be seen to be believed, and his record in Dubai is absolutely sensational.
A three time champion, Ernie’s record here in the last six years reads 2-2-1-3-2-1 and I like the fact that he has taken some time off recently. That should have given him plenty of opportunity to get himself ready for a fast start and he’ll be chomping at the bit to take on Woods.
Els wasn’t at his best last season, while still recovering from knee surgery, but headed the European Tour money list going into the final week of the season and still remains the most talented golfer, Tiger aside, on the planet. 13.0 about him looks more than decent and even just another placed effort would yield a greater return on your investment than a successful back of Tiger in the outright.
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