DP World Tour Championship: Top 10 Power Rankings
The European Tour comes to its conclusion for another year as a talent-packed field battle it out for the DP World Tour Championship and the Race to Dubai. Who’s likely to battle it out for the trophy?
It all comes down to this. After months of globe-trotting and spectacular golf, the European Tour season comes to its conclusion this week with the Race to Dubai finale, the DP World Tour Championship.
With plenty of prize money and valuable world ranking points up for grabs, as has become tradition, this event has brought out one of the best European Tour fields of the year, and certainly the best in world golf for this later stage of the calendar year.
Rory McIlroy returns to action as the defending champion this week, needing to win to have any chance of getting his hands on the Race to Dubai overall, but he’ll have to be at his best to pull that off.
Last week’s winner Alex Noren is playing the golf of his life, while fellow Swede Henrik Stenson hasn’t been easy to beat at any stage over the past year or so. With the rest of the European Tour’s best in attendance too, it should make for an enthralling four days of play.
Who will come out on top though? Our power rankings highlight 10 of the leading contenders at the DP World Tour Championship.
No. 9, 4 Wins In His Last 11 Events
One of the very few players who enters this week with a chance to win the Race to Dubai with a victory in this event, it has become increasingly difficult to rule Alex Noren out of winning any event any more.
The winner at last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, the Swede has now picked up four wins since July and has leaped up to a career high ninth in the world golf rankings as a result of his incredible second half of the season.
A 38th place finish here last year doesn’t provide the sort of concrete evidence for his chances at the DP World Tour Championship that many of his rivals possess, but right now it would take a very brave man to bet against Noren on any course on the planet.
No. 2, Defending Champion
Although Rory McIlroy’s decision to withdraw from the Turkish Airlines Open and skip the Nedbank has hindered his chances of winning the Race to Dubai overall, the Northern Irishman still has plenty of motivation to go out and win this week.
Not only does McIlroy have the pride in being the defending champion at the event to reckon with, but he also tees it up on Thursday knowing that a win in Dubai would put him right back within touching distance of the world no.1 spot.
Not only did McIlroy reign supreme here last year, but he was also the champion back in 2012. All in all, his comfort on this course cannot be questioned, and it would be a surprise if the FedEx Cup champion doesn’t go close again here.
No. 4, R2D Leader, Two-Time Winner Of This Event
Henrik Stenson heads to the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates this week knowing that a strong performance from him should be enough to cap off a career season with one more accolade of note.
Stenson sits in control of the Race to Dubai knowing that a strong finish from him would force one of his rivals into chasing a win just to have chance of toppling him at the top of the leaderboard, but his focus will be on a win regardless.
Just like McIlroy, Stenson has won here on two occasions. The Swede went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014, and coming in this week after a good finish last week, he won’t have any rust to deal with in the way the Northern Irishman might.
No. 16, Third Last Week, Top-10s Here In Last Two Years
Sixth in the Race to Dubai standings, and having posted an impressive third placed finish on home soil at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last week, Branden Grace has plenty of reason to be confident coming into this week.
Grace has put together a consistent season around the world, and has traditionally played very well in some of the European Tour’s middle-eastern events. A win at the Qatar Masters and a fifth place finish in Abu Dhabi this season act as proof of that.
The South African’s great play in the region extends to this particular event too. Grace finished in third place last season and ninth the year before, meaning that he knows he’s more than capable of putting it all together at the DP World Tour Championship.
No. 33, Recent Winner, Strong Track Record In This Event
Tyrrell Hatton has proven himself as one of the very best players in Europe over the past 18 months, and his recent form won’t do anything to change that. Hatton has finished in the top-25 in his last five starts, including two top-tens and a win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
As a result, although Hatton won’t be in position to win the Race to Dubai overall, he’ll be playing to maximize his prize money from the Race’s special fund, as well as picking up a nice pay day this week.
With a strong record at this event, that kind of lucrative week is very much in play for the Englishman too. Hatton finished 13th last year, and sixth the season before. High on confidence there’s no reason why he couldn’t get his hands on the prize this time out.
No. 15, Good Form
Although he’s been rarely seen on the European Tour in recent seasons, when Sergio Garcia does return to Europe, he’s always a threat to win.
An 11-time winner on the European Tour, Sergio only played in three European Tour events this season outside of majors, WGC events and the Olympics, but put in stellar showings finishing no worse than seventh between them.
After some good play on the PGA Tour swing in Asia, Sergio tees it up for his sixth time at the DP World Tour Championship, having never previously finished worse than 21st and finishing 12th or better on four occasions.
No. 40, Runner-Up Last Year
Having struggled in the run-up to the Ryder Cup, perhaps due to the pressures of securing his place on the team, Sullivan has bounced back impressively since his debut in the event at Hazeltine.
Having narrowly been beaten into second by Padraig Harrington at the Portugal Masters, Sullivan added another strong performance to his recent resumé when he came in third at last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Add that impressive recent play with some positive history at this event and there’s every reason to believe Sully could compete this week. Having finished 21st in his debut here in 2014, Sullivan came back and battled Rory McIlroy for four days last year before finally being forced to settle for second.
No. 93, Third Last Week, Perennial Contender In Dubai
By the high standards of his play in recent years, 2016 has been a disastrous season for Victor Dubuisson, although right at the end of the year there could be a ray of light for the Frenchman.
Dubuisson has traditionally thrived in the Final Series of the Race to Dubai, and a third placed finish at last week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge opened up the possibility that this week will be no different for the 26-year-old.
Dubuisson finished in 13th place in this tournament last season, having recorded second and third placed finishes in 2014 and 2013 respectively. His form this season makes him something of a dark horse, but Dubuisson’s track record in Dubai should place him among the favorites.
No. 46, Consistent Performer In Dubai
Wiesberger took last week off for some rest after what has been an excellent run of form, and in all honesty, a win would seem like the perfect way for the Austrian to cap off a very impressive season.
Wiesberger has only finished worse than seventh once in his last six events on the European Tour, and throughout a very active schedule during the year has never missed a cut in a regular tour event.
In four previous visits to Jumeirah, Wiesberger has never truly threatened to win, but he has certainly played solid golf. With top 20s for the Austrian in 2014 and 2015, the next logical step would seem to be a real run at the trophy.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
No. 30, Near Misses In The Past
Much like Wiesberger, Cabrera Bello is set to round off an excellent year of consistent play. Although the Spaniard has a Ryder Cup debut to look back upon fondly, he hasn’t got a trophy to show for his efforts in 2016.
Having played a sparser schedule post-Hazeltine, Cabrera Bello’s form may not be quite as impressive as it was a few months ago, but still he has all the tools to turn it on and win at the DP World Tour Championship.
Another player who hasn’t necessarily challenged at this event in the past, but has always played consistent, steady golf at Jumeirah, Cabrera Bello will be looking to do much better than his previous high of ninth at this event.
Who’s your pick to win the DP World Tour Championship? Let us know by reaching out on Facebook or Twitter, and keep it here at Pro Golf Now for more news from the European Tour.
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