In a regular weekly column on Rotoworld, we reflect on the tournaments just gone and also take an early peek at the action ahead on the PGA and European Tours.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
1. (-19, 269) Lee Westwood (Odds: 66/1)
2. (-17, 271) Tommy Fleetwood (Odds: 10/1)
2. (-17, 271) Matthew Fitzpatrick (Odds: 20/1)
2. (-17, 271) Victor Perez (Odds: 66/1)
5. (-15, 273) Louis Oosthuizen (Odds: 16/1)
Notes: A 25th European Tour win for Westwood, who has now won in four separate decades. While there was a four-year gap between Nos. 23 and 24, it's only 14 months since Westwood last tasted victory (Nedbank Golf Challenge in November, 2018) so he remains a force at 48 years of age. He becomes the eighth player to win multiple Rolex Series events while this is his second victory in the Middle East. Shane Lowry captured this event last year and then went onto win his first major later in the season. Could Westwood do the same? Fitzpatrick, still just 25, has five European Tour titles but has lost the habit for now; this was his sixth second place since November 2018. Perez, like Fleetwood, closed with a 63 and is playing some seriously good golf. A win, two seconds and a fourth have cemented his position in the world's top 50.
Fate of the favorites
Notes: Koepka immediately clicked into gear with an opening 66 but the rust kicked in after that and he was never a factor. Cantlay also threatened to get involved at the business end before falling back to finish alongside his compatriot in tied 34th but the two tried-and-trusted course specialists, Fleetwood and Oosthuizen, both delivered the goods. Englishman Fleetwood now has two wins and a second in the last four years at Abu Dhabi GC while this was Oosthuizen's fourth top five in six editions of the ADGC.
The American Express
1. (-26, 262) Andrew Landry (Odds: 200/1)
2. (-24, 264) Abraham Ancer (Odds: 40/1)
3. (-23, 265) Scottie Scheffler (Odds: 28/1)
4. (-20, 268) Bud Cauley (Odds: 80/1)
4. (-20, 268) Sepp Straka (Odds: 300/1)
Notes: This appeared to come out of nowhere with Landry just 1-for-8 this season prior to pegging it up in California but #TeamCourseForm would have had him on radar as Landry was runner-up (lost a playoff) in this event in 2018. Landry now has two wins while Ancer and Scheffler still seek a first although their knocks are getting louder. Landry ranked 1st for Birdies with 31, 9th for SG: Approach and 6th for SG: Putting although full stats were only available on the two rounds played at the Stadium Course.
Fate of the favorites
Notes: Fowler was flying for 36 holes before failing to break 70 in his two weekend rounds, Finau didn't build on his sparkling Friday 62 while Im could never throw in the required super-low one. Casey lost ground on Sunday when a top ten and much more was on the cards so a solid if unspectacular collective effort from the market leaders.
Coming up this week…
Farmers Insurance Open
Location: : The South Course, 7,698 yards, par 72. The North Course, 7,250 yards, par 72.
Who’s playing? Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Gary Woodland, Francesco Molinari, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau.
Past winners at Torrey Pines
2019 (-21, 267) Justin Rose – 10th PGA TOUR win
2018 (-10, 278) Jason Day – 11th PGA TOUR win
2017 (-13, 275) Jon Rahm – 1st PGA TOUR win
2016 (-6, 282) Brandt Snedeker – 4th PGA TOUR win
2015 (-9, 279) Jason Day – 3rd PGA TOUR win
Notes: After a run of 12 straight American winners, the last three have gone to overseas players. Justin Rose's winning score last year was the lowest since Tiger won the first of his seven titles here with 22-under in 1999.
Dubai Desert Classic
Location: Emirates GC, United Arab Emirates, 7,353 yards, par 72.
Who’s playing? Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Bernd Wiesberger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer, Thomas Pieters, Viktor Hovland, Robert MacIntyre.
Past winners of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
2019 (-24, 264) Bryson DeChambeau – 1st European Tour win
2018 (-23, 265) HaoTong Li – 2nd European Tour win
2017 (-19, 269) Sergio Garcia – 12th European Tour win
2016 (-19, 269) Danny Willett – 2nd European Tour win
2015 (-22, 266) Rory McIlroy – 10th European Tour win
Notes: Six different nationalities have won the last six editions and that's been a theme for a tournament which started in 1989. Lots of birdies are needed although DeChambeau's -24 was seven better than anyone else last year. Li won with -23 in 2018.