EUROPEAN TOUR: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
VENUE: Abu Dhabi Golf Club
The 7,600-yard par 72 is long but does lend itself to low scoring due to immaculate green conditions and a traditionally high-quality field. Tommy Fleetwood is looking to create history by winning a third consecutive title here, but with Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Henrik Stenson in the field it'll be no easy task.
Brooks Koepka 1pt OUTRIGHT 12/1
Koepka claimed the World Number One spot following a victory at Nine Bridges at the end of 2018, and after being overtaken by Justin Rose a couple of weeks later, will be looking to return to the top. After the best year of his career last time out, Koepka has now become one of the game's biggest stars and I expect him to be right in the mix this week when he returns to his formative European Tour. Having already played in Kapalua this year he may have a head start on some of his rivals and will be looking to add to his 12 professional victories in Abu Dhabi. Koepka doesn't seem bothered by such things as previous course form, so we won't be either. He should be right up there.
Branden Grace 0.5 pts E/W 35/1 (1/4 odds 5 places)
2018 was Grace's first winless season since 2014 and he will be looking to put that right again very soon, and re-establish himself among the best players in the world. He did manage to finish the season strongly with a Top 10 at the South African Open and enjoys playing in Abu Dhabi with three consecutive Top 15 finishes. He's Golfalot's HOT TIP for the week.
The Long Shot
Bernd Wiesberger 0.5 pts E/W 150/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Despite injury struggles last year, 150/1 seems a very good price for someone of Wiesberger's quality. Wiesberger reached the Top 30 in the world in 2017 before a nasty wrist injury kept him sidelined for most of 2018. However, Wiesberger is back and fully fit and has been in Dubai for the best part of a week getting prepared and accustomed to the conditions. He will look to bounce back from a tough campaign last year with a strong showing this week.
PGA TOUR: Desert Classic
VENUE: La Quinta, California
The Desert Classic is one of the more interesting events on the PGA Tour schedule as it also features a celebrity pro-am with three different courses in play. The PGA West and La Quinta courses are straightforward for the professionals, with plenty of birdie chances, whilst the Stadium Course presents more of a challenge. 20 under par winning scores have been exceeded for the last 11 instalments of the event so look for those players who are able to score freely.
Jon Rahm 1pt Outright 15/2
I just can't seem to see Rahm doing anything other than contending again this week after winning last year. The world number seven is in fantastic form, with a win at the Hero World Challenge late last year backed up by a T8 at his opener in Hawaii this year. Defending your title on the PGA Tour is not easy but with 6 wins in just 66 events, Rahm has already demonstrated that he is more than talented enough. Picking Justin Rose was tempting, but the fact that he changed equipment and had a longer break than Rahm this winter was enough to give the Spaniard the nod.
Hudson Swafford 0.5pts E/W 45/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)
Swafford arrives to California with both good course form and good recent form- two ingredients which should indicate a strong showing this week. He finished in a tie for third last week at the Sony Open and clearly enjoys the challenge of La Quinta, with a win in 2017 and a Top 30 last year. At 45/1 Swafford could represent good value as an each way bet.
The Long Shot
Joaquin Niemann 0.5pts E/W 80/1 (1/5 odds 8 places)
Last year the former number one Amateur proved that he is one of the hottest young prospects in golf. Having earned his card and with a full season ahead of him, attention now turns to when Niemann is able to live up to the hype and notch his first win on the PGA Tour, and I think that he could have a decent chance this week. At this price, it was too tempting to pass up.