The European Tour has contributed a lot in the past couple weeks. Last week, it’s Volvo champion Louis Oosthuizen moved up to number four in the world. And this week it will host the most popular players in the game.
On the coast of the Persian Gulf, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will square off for the first time in 2013. It would have been more than a crime if they were not playing with each other for at least the first round. Luckily, fans can expect to enjoy intense golf for at least two rounds this weekend, as they will be playing on both Thursday and Friday.
Though the two insist that they do not have a rivalry between each other, the two fierce athletes will try to outdo each other on every hole Thursday and Friday. Like it or not, whoever comes out ahead after the two days will steal the headlines of the week (unless the other pulls off a come from behind win).
And rightfully so. This is what people want to watch when they turn on golf. They want to see the best competing. It would be great for us January golf enthusiast if the two can come out swinging and play through all four days on top of their game. Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen, as it just early. But that does not mean that we should be prepared to watch bad golf.
In Vegas, McIlory is the heavy favorite to take home the title. He is listed at +435, while the rest of the field is just -530. On the flip side, Tiger has a line of +635, while the rest of the field is -870. What is interesting about the line this week, is that when you are wagering on the full field itself, you are giving up a lot when you bet McIlory. However, if you just choose McIlory to beat Woods, you are getting -130. It is pretty clear that the public has taken a real liking to McIlory in the past couple years, and the betting trends support that claim.
There is a lot of be excited about this weekend. The Abu Dhabi HSBC championship is not going to turn heads and be a must watch for a lot of people. But because of the competition and story lines behind the tournament, I expect a lot of media attention, albeit focused on the the two superstars.