Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2021
The Event, Venue and Course
After a 6 week winter break the new season is finally upon us and i can't tell you how good it is to be back.
With the UK in yet another lock down and all courses ordered to close again. Having the European Tour return with a fuller schedule has come at the perfect time and provided me with something meaningful to occupy my time with.
Now, back to the week ahead and this years season opener kicks off with a big prize fund and strong field Rolex Series Event, with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
This will be the 16th consecutive showing of this event and as you can tell by the names on this years start sheet and previous years leader boards, a very popular event within the desert swing.
ABU DHABI GOLF CLUB.
Length and Par: 7,583 yard, Par 72.
Architect and Design: Peter Harridine (1998). Desert design.
Greens: Tifdwarf Bermuda (12'6")
Very typical of most desert design courses, this track is relatively flat, exposed and susceptible to tougher playing conditions if the desert winds blow through. This usually means calm mornings and breezy afternoons. Always worth making a couple of final checks before locking in those line-ups.
From Abu Dhabi Golf Club we can certainly expect exceptional playing conditions and presentation. Year on year they produce a very consistent course.
The design itself features 9 water hazards (most not really in play), tight fairways that still require driver to be hit and very quick greens.. Think stadium/resort course.. Can play long off the very back tees but if your finding fairways and striking the ball well it is relatively simple and a good score very possible.
|Winner||Country||Score||To par||Margin of
|Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA|
|15th||2020||Jan 19||Lee Westwood||England||269||−19||2 strokes|| Matthew Fitzpatrick
|14th||2019||Jan 19||Shane Lowry||Ireland||270||−18||1 stroke||Richard Sterne||7,000,000||1,166,660|
|13th||2018||Jan 21||Tommy Fleetwood (2)||England||266||−22||2 strokes||Ross Fisher||3,000,000||500,000|
|Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship|
|12th||2017||Jan 22||Tommy Fleetwood||England||271||−17||1 stroke|| Dustin Johnson
|Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship|
|11th||2016||Jan 24||Rickie Fowler||United States||272||−16||1 stroke||Thomas Pieters||2,700,000||450,000|
|10th||2015||Jan 18||Gary Stal||France||269||−19||1 stroke||Rory McIlroy||2,700,000||450,000|
|9th||2014||Jan 19||Pablo Larrazábal||Spain||274||−14||1 stroke|| Rory McIlroy
|8th||2013||Jan 20||Jamie Donaldson||Wales||274||−14||1 stroke|| Thorbjørn Olesen
|7th||2012||Jan 29||Robert Rock||England||275||−13||1 stroke||Rory McIlroy||2,000,000||333,330|
|6th||2011||Jan 23||Martin Kaymer (3)||Germany||264||−24||8 strokes||Rory McIlroy||2,000,000||333,330|
|Abu Dhabi Golf Championship|
|5th||2010||Jan 24||Martin Kaymer (2)||Germany||267||−21||1 stroke||Ian Poulter||2,000,000||333,330|
|4th||2009||Jan 18||Paul Casey (2)||England||267||−21||1 stroke|| Martin Kaymer
|3rd||2008||Jan 20||Martin Kaymer||Germany||273||−15||4 strokes|| Henrik Stenson
|2nd||2007||Jan 21||Paul Casey||England||271||−17||1 stroke|| Peter Hanson
Miguel Ángel Jiménez
|1st||2006||Jan 22||Chris DiMarco||United States||268||−20||1 stroke||Henrik Stenson||2,000,000||333,330|
The Field & Key Stats
Season Opener + Rolex Event + Big Pot + Stunning Venue = Strong Field.
There is a lot to like about the field assembling this week.
- JT and Rory feature as our main attractions.
- Strength in depth with the likes of Tommy, Tyrrell, Fitzy and Wallace.
- Ryder Cup regulars and fan favorites like Stenson, Rose, Westwood and Poulter.
- 6 weeks since we last saw a ball struck (JT excluded) I'm sure there will be surprise performances.
- Tonnes of value to be found at both ends of the spectrum.
- Full season scheduled, with a return to normality and a lot more to play for (Ryder Cup, playing rights etc.)
5 in FORM.
Justin Thomas - Record: 3,12,4,2,12. Cuts made 5/5 (2 top 3 and 3 top 5 placings, worst finish 12th.)
Christian Bezuidenhout - Record: 14,1,1,15,38. Cuts made 5/5, (2 Wins in last 3 and 4 of last 5 inside the top 15.)
Sami Valimaki - Record: 5,13,18,6,13. Cuts made 5/5 (2 top 10's and inside top 20 for all 5)
Robert MacIntyre - Record: 23,19,6,1,3. Cuts made 5/5 (1 Win and 3 top 10's)
Andy Sullivan - Record: 10,2,m/c,58,3. Cuts made 4/5 (2 inside top 3 and another top 10 in his last event)
HORSES 4 COURSES.
Rory McIlroy - Stroke Average 68.63, Cuts made 9/10, 7 times in top 3 and 8 top 5's, Best Finish 2nd (2011,12,14,15).
Martin Kaymer - Stroke Average 68.98, Cuts made 12/14, Wins 3 (2008,10,11), 5 top 5's and 8 times in top 10.
Tommy Fleetwood - Stroke Average 69.89, Cuts made 5/9, Wins 2 (2017,18) 3 top 5's placing 2nd in 2020.
Joost Luiten - Stroke Average 70.03, Cuts made 9/9, 4 top 10's, Best Finish 3rd (2019).
Lee Westwood - Last years Race to Dubai winner and winner of this event last year.
Matthew Fitzpatrick - Last winner on European Tour (DP World Tour Champion) and placed 2nd here last year.
Tyrrell Hatton - 1 Win and 4 top 10's in his last 7 events. 5/6 cuts made here and 4 of those in top 15 with 2 top 10's.
2 ROUNDS TOO MANY.
Marc Warren - Out of 13 attempts so far Marc has failed to see the weekends play on 9 occasions. This should be a course that fits his game however a stroke average of 72.35 here certainly tells a different story and suggests it doesn't fit the eye.
Richard McEvoy - 5 attempts and yet to make a cut. Richards stroke average here of 73.40 is a long way off the field average. However just like Marc, he has a game very capable of scoring far better at this venue and it wouldn't surprise me to see both these break the trend.
WATCH THIS 1.
Wilco Nienaber - For no other reason other than its absolutely fascinating watching the young South African crush the ball off the tee and decimate holes with his absurd distance and clubbing.
When making your picks this week I would look towards good ball striking and accuracy stats as a general rule. Avoiding bogey and setting up chances is much easier here when playing from good position.
OFF THE TEE - I believe it is a little more important to keep the ball in the fairway here than it is to gain yardage. However with that said i still think its important to drive the ball well and for me that sneaky long yet accurate style fits perfectly (Westwood, Fleetwood).
IRON PLAY - This is an easy one this week... I'm looking for players that are going to attack pins. Missing a few greens here isn't the end of the world and if they drop a few through aggressive play I am sure they will more than make up for it through the same reasons.
PUTTING & SCRAMBLING - As mentioned above missing greens here isn't the end of the world and year on year the players have proven that with above average scrambling stats across the field.
The quick Bermuda greens will definitely suit those that prefer this surface and its worth noting that they can have a little more grain than other venues, that becomes more prominent as the day progresses.
The current reports would suggest those teeing it up in the morning on Thursday are going to have a slight advantage and the best of the pre-cut conditions. I will also be looking at this tee wave for my FRL picks.
Thursday - Hazy Sun, Breezy in the p.m. (Wind 10 - 23 mph.)
Friday - Mostly Sunny and Windy. (Wind 20 - 23 mph.)
Saturday - Sunny, Building Breeze. (Wind 7 - 18 mph.)
Sunday - Sunny, Building Breeze, Stronger Gusts. (Wind 10 - 28 mph.)
- JUSTIN THOMAS - $11.0K
- MATTHEW FITZPATRICK - $9.9K
- LEE WESTWOOD - $9.4K
- MATTHIAS SCHWAB - $8.4K
- SAMI VALIMAKI - $8.1K
- JOOST LUITEN - $7.8K
- RAFA CABRERA BELLO - $7.4K
- MARCUS ARMITAGE - $7.0K
- PABLO LARRAZABAL - $6.9K
- JORGE CAMPILLO - $6.6K
- KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT
Others. (Late additions.)
- RORY MCILROY - $11.4K
- MATT WALLACE - $8.9K
- li. HAOTONG - $6.8K
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK - 15/1
JOOST LUITEN - 75/1
RAFA CABRERA BELLO - 80/1
JORGE CAMPILLO - 200/1
FIRST ROUND LEADER
JUSTIN THOMAS - 18/1
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK - 25/1
RAFA CABRERA BELLO - 70/1
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT - 140/1