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DP World Tour Championship – preview and prediction with McIlroy and Rahm to duel it out

What’s at stake?

Not as much as there could be with Rory McIlroy already guaranteed to finish the year as the European number one. The closest challengers, Adrian Meronk and Ryan Fox, failed to score enough points at the Nedbank Challenge last week to prevent the Northern Irishman from claiming the crown for the fifth time.

That said, there is still a major title up for grabs, not to mention a £2.4million first prize.

Where is it being held?

The Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai has staged the DP World Tour Championship for the past 14 years.

It’s a par-72 lay-out stretching over 7,675 yards and is known as a course that benefits the longer hitters.

Justin Rose, who is not playing this year, holds the course record having hit a 62 in 2012.

Who’s in the field?

McIlroy is the star attraction, as ever, but he will be joined by nine of his victorious European Ryder Cup team-mates, including defending champion Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Min Woo Lee and Tom Kim lead the overseas charge.

Who is the favourite?

Bet365 have McIlroy as the favourite, followed by Hovland and Rahm.

Rory McIlroy 9/2
Viktor Hovland 11/2
Jon Rahm 11/2
Tyrrell Hatton 12/1
Matt Fitzpatrick 12/1
Tommy Fleetwood 14/1

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What they said

McIlroy on his form in Europe in 2023
“I’ve played well when I’ve came back over to The European Tour this year and won two Rolex Series Events and had some other really high finishes in tournaments that give a lot of points.
“It’s really nice to have my name on the Harry Vardon Trophy for the fifth time and just be one behind Seve [Ballesteros] and still a few behind Monty [Colin Montgomerie].
“I knew now that I could come here and relax, I still wanted to come here and win this golf tournament. This golf course sets up well for me and it’s a place I’ve always done well at. “It’s nice to come in here with at least that off my mind so I can just concentrate on the golf tournament.”

Hovland reflecting on his season and the Ryder Cup
“I’m sitting here after the Ryder Cup and I’m just looking over the year, it’s the moments that we had in Rome, that was incredible, and then just looking back to [the fact] I won three times this year, big-time events.
“I’m really proud of the way I won those events. I don’t feel like I would have been capable of winning those events earlier in the year. I feel like I’ve taken a big step to be able to win those events.
“I’m thinking back to that stretch as, man, I got a lot better this year and I was able to achieve some things that I wouldn’t probably have done before. That’s kind of how I’m sitting here and thinking about that.”

How can I watch the action?

Sky Sports Golf is showing all four days from Dubai, starting at 0700 on Thursday morning.

If you’re in the US, you can find it on the Golf Channel with their coverage getting underway at 0200 EST.


Rahm has won this tournament three times and the wide open fairways of the Earth Course suit his power game. McIlroy will challenge, although he may be compromised by trying out a new driver this week.
Lee is another big-hitter to watch as is Nicolai Hojgaard, who came second to American Max Homa at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
My money is on Rahm.

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Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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