The end of the DP World Tour is upon us and it ends as is now the norm with the DP World Tour Championship in Abu Dhabi. Rory McIlroy has already claimed the prize of the champion of the DP World Tour but with a strong field heading to the Jumeirah Golf Estate for this tournament, he is by no means a sure bet to win this weekend. There are plenty of players coming in to this off the back of a Ryder Cup victory with no fewer than 10 players from the European side teeing up this week. Below I have who I believe are the leading contenders for who will be towards the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
For me, the best player in the world at the moment. Hovland continued his tremendous end of year form with an exceptional performance in the Ryder Cup where he picked up 3.5 points from a possible 5. If you are looking for someone to break in to the so called ‘Big 3’ in the world rankings in 2024, Hovland is surely the leading contender and would be many people’s choice to land a major championship in the same year. The only concern you have with Hovland as well as the other leading contenders such as Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy is the fact they have played such little golf since the victory at Marco Simone, so will they be coming in to this tournament a little rusty? For me I don’t see this causing Hovland any issues as he was simply sensational in the months of August and September.
Another stand-out performer from the Ryder Cup for me was Tyrrell Hatton, but once again, Hatton is a player who has played no tour golf since Italy. His last tournament was an impressive 2nd at the BMW championship at Wentworth which was won by Ryan Fox (more on him later), Hatton also ended up tied for 16th in the FedEx Cup after reaching East Lake by the skin of his teeth. My big concern with Tyrrell is that he doesn’t win as much as his quality suggests he should. With only 1 PGA Tour title to his name, you would expect that figure to be a lot more for how much talent the world number 12 possesses. If Tyrrell can keep his composure, I think he has a great chance of coming out on top this weekend, but if that fiery temperament we all know about takes over, put a cross through his name.
Now here is a player who has played recently AND has come out on top. Tom Kim was the winner of the Shriners Children’s Open in mid-October, coming out on top by 1 shot to Adam Hadwin. Kim is a player who just always seems to get better and will become not only a star of the future but a star of the present in no time, tied for 17th in the FedEx Cup, the 21 year old will be full of confidence going in to this tournament. Another potential first time major winner in 2024, I am so excited to see what the next 12 months has in store for the South Korean and with already 3 tournament wins under his belt, Kim will surely be hungry for more.
The BMW champion comes in to this after an impressive year on tour where he has the DP World tour’s signature event to his name along with 4 cuts made in the major championships, with 2 top 30’s in the Masters and the PGA Championship. Coming in to this week at 40/1 the big hitting New Zealander has a great chance in my eyes to add another string to his bow, he was able to beat off the likes of McIlroy, Rahm and Hovland at Wentworth, why can’t he do it again? 2 poor showings in his last performances are the concern with Fox but he was tied 2nd at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the beginning of October, losing out to Englishman, Matt Fitzpatrick on that occasion, with that only lasting 54 hours, maybe Fox could’ve got the win over 4 days golf?
A tied 4th and tied 7th in his last 4 events, Marcel Siem is not in the worst of form and is in far better form than his price of 125/1 suggests. The passionate German has been on the tour for many years and does only have 7 professional wins to his name, however one of those did come in 2023 at the Indian Open, so there may be caution to his capability of being able to get wins over the line. There is the chance that Siem may flatter to deceive this week with the quality, with all respect to the players who have played lately, increasing, but I do believe there is a chance that he may be one of the men who is in contention when Sunday comes about and one thing about Siem is that he will never give up until he has played all 72 holes in a tournament.