There’s no shortage of star power at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, as former world no. 1 Rory McIlroy will make his first appearance of the 2016 season. The tournament also presents the first time this year the Northern Irishman clashes with golf’s new heavyweight, 22-year-old wunderkid Jordan Spieth.
The first leg of The European Tour Desert Swing features a talented field, with eight major champions, 87 European Tour Sportsbooks, six European Tour number ones and five former world number ones competing in the 11th consecutive event in the United Arab Emirates.
McIlroy is always a lock to be in the hunt in this tournament, as the 26-year-old has finished lower than 11th just once in eight appearances. He’s finished as a runner-up on four occasions, including last year when Gary Stal came out of nowhere to claim the hardware thanks to a phenomenal showing on the tournament’s final day. As a result, oddsmakers at Sportsbook have pegged McIlroy as a +375 betting favorite to win the crown.
Another man to watch this week is Martin Kaymer. Kaymer has won the tournament a record three times (2008, 2010 and 2011) while compiling an incredible record in Abu Dhabi since making his debut in 2007. In his 32 rounds at the course, the German is an aggregate 104 under par with a stroke average of 68.8. Bettors looking for value will be pleased to see Kaymer at +1600 on the board.
The tournament marks Spieth’s first regular European Tour event, but it would come as little surprise if he makes his debut a golden one. Spieth is coming off a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in which he compiled a winning score of 30 under par – a personal best for the Texan. Spieth is available for a price of +400 at the shop.