2020 Dubai Desert Golf Classic Betting Guide

The Dubai Desert Classic is an annual golf tournament organised by the European Tour. It is staged early each year and held on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The tournament has been running since 1989 and is currently one of six European Tour Golfing events to be staged in the Arabian Gulf and has, over the years, been won by golfing titans such as Seve Ballesteros, Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. The inaugural event was won by Englishman Mark James.

Like the vast majority of golf tournaments, the Dubai Desert Classic takes place over four days and, at the time of writing, boasts a staggering prize fund of $3.25 million.

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Popular Golf Bets for Dubai Desert Golf Classic

Due to the nature of golf, the range of available betting options might, at first, appear a little more limited than other sports but there is still plenty for the hungry punter to get their teeth into. Below is just a small taster.

Golf Tournament Outright Winner Betting

Outright betting is the obvious place to start and works in exactly the same way as it does in other sports in that you are wagering on a player to be the outright tournament winner. Golf tournaments typically have a lot of entrants so there should always be a large field to select from. All the same, this bet is straight forward as you are simply backing a player to be the outright winner of the tournament.

Golf Each Way Betting

Again, each way betting in golf is the same as each way betting elsewhere. Just like when you are selecting your outright winner, make your pick from a list of participants and add their name to your betting slip. Enter your stake and tick the each way button at which point your stake will double because an each way bet consists of two parts. One half of your stake goes towards an outright victory and the other goes towards a place which in golf typically means a top four finish at 1/5 of the odds. Remember though, many bookmakers run specials on each way places, either increasing the paid number of finishers or paying at ¼ of the odds.

Golf Two and Three Ball Betting

Another way to bet on golf is to play the two-ball and/or three-ball market, which varies in size depending on the size of the player groupings in a round of a tournament. Here, instead of betting on a player to win the competition, you are backing a player to win his two-man or three-man group, which lasts for one round of golf. This is popular because the chances of picking winners are increased, while the odds of an outsider doing well in the group can appeal to punters because there are only a few players contesting with them.

1st Round Leader Betting

First round leader bets allow you to back a player to be top of the leaderboard after day one has finished. It isn’t important if that player goes on to win the tournament or even misses the cut two days later – unlikely we know – so long as they are in the leader’s position after the first round, you’ll be quids in. Of course, it’s better to put your money behind a player known to come out of the blocks strong and not a slow burner if you want to see your money again.

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Tournament Structure

The Dubai Desert Golf Classic, once known as the Karl Litten Desert Classic, takes place over four days, eliminating players after each day’s play. Players’ respective par scores are carried over each day to build a tournament long par score, the lowest and therefore best of these will belong to the tournament winner. In the event of a tournament tie, a three hole play-off will be undertaken to determine a winner.

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History

The European Tour, who would normally open their season in Spain or Italy in April after the Masters had finished at Augusta in Georgia (US), had been looking to expand beyond its borders for some time due to the European winter climate. Running from 1982 through 1986, the Tunisian Open was the first trialled tourney outside Europe which was followed in 1987 by a Moroccan tournament which lasted one year. Despite enjoying little success in North Africa, the tour wouldn’t give up and soon turned to the Arab Gulf.

When this tournament was first staged in 1989, Dubai looked very different to the skyscraping neon desert metropolis that it is today. Then it was just a relatively small fishing port, just beginning to introduce itself as a tourist destination with miles and miles of nothing but sand all the way to Abu Dhabi. The Emirates Golf Club, host venue for the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic and first grass turfed golf course in the Middle East, was almost about 15 miles from Dubai’s outer limits with nothing between the course and the city.

In 1989, the tee for the 8th hole was played towards an empty horizon save for sand covered views of the Persian Gulf. In contrast, today the fairways are played towards Dubai’s famous skyline dominated by high rise buildings and hotels. Back then, the only amenities included one hospitality tent, two small grandstands and a scoreboard.

That first year was won by Mark James from England when he beat Australian Peter O’Malley in a playoff. Thanks to Dubai Sheikh money, James has since been followed by the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, and a host of other names. Four players have won the trophy more than once, Ernie Els who has won it three times, plus Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Stephen Gallacher who have all won it twice. The youngest ever winner of the Dubai Classic was Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who was only 19 years old when he won in 2009.

With the exception of the 1999 and 2000 events when it was hosted by the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, it has always been played at the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club, however the 1991 edition was cancelled due the Persian Gulf war.

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Past Winners

YearWinnerNation
2020Lucas HerbertAustralia
2019Bryson DeChambeauUnited States
2018Li HaotongChina
2017Sergio GarcíaSpain
2016Danny WillettEngland
2015Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland
2014Stephen GallacherScotland
2013Stephen GallacherScotland
2012Rafael Cabrera-BelloSpain
2011Álvaro QuirósSpain
2010Miguel Ángel JiménezSpain
2009Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland
2008Tiger WoodsUnited States
2007Henrik StensonSweden
2006Tiger WoodsUnited States
2005Ernie ElsSouth Africa
2004Mark O'MearaUnited States
2003Robert-Jan DerksenNetherlands
2002Ernie ElsSouth Africa
2001Thomas BjørnDenmark
2000José CóceresArgentina
1999David HowellEngland
1998José María OlazábalSpain
1997Richard GreenAustralia
1996Colin MontgomerieScotland
1995Fred CouplesUnited States
1994Ernie ElsSouth Africa
1993Wayne WestnerSouth Africa
1992Seve BallesterosSpain
1991No tournamentNo tournament
1990Eamonn DarcyIreland
1989Mark JamesEngland

Key Stats

  • Having won the event three times, South African Ernie Els has won the Dubai Desert Classic more than anyone else
  • Ernie also shot a tournament record 61 in 1994 finishing 11 under par
  • American Mark O’Meara became the tournament’s oldest winner in 2000 when he won the title aged 47
  • While Rory McIlroy is the ever youngest winner, scooping the title aged 19 in 2009
  • In 2001, the tournament record was set by Thomas Bjorn who parred -22
  • Martin Kaymer has played in each staging of tournament
  • The tournament has had 19 different winners from 12 different countries.
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FAQ

What exactly is the Dubai Desert Golf Classic?

The Dubai Desert Golf Classic is a four-day golf tournament featuring some of the world’s top golfers and organised by the European Tour

But Dubai isn’t Europe right?

Of course not but, despite ridicule in some corners, former European Tour chief executive Ken Schofield saw the potential in the developing emirate and took the tour to the Middle East for a £250,000 prize pool.

But how did the European tour end up in Dubai?

Because of the European climate. Back in the late eighties, the European Tour’s chief executive Ken Schofield was looking to take the tour to warmer climes. Around the same time, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, saw golf as a way to attract visitors to his burgeoning emirate and so the pair agreed to set up a Middle East golf tournament. Today, there are six events held in the region, that makes up 12% of the entire European Tour schedule.

Where else does the European Tour stop then?

The tour’s Arab Gulf success has inspired the organisers to stage tournaments spread out as far as South Africa, China, Malaysia and India.

ThePuntersPage Final Say

Over more than 30 years, the Dubai Desert Golf Classic has established itself as a staple of the European Tour, inspiring five extra Middle-Eastern events plus even more in Africa and Asia. With a prize fund of over £3 million, and the warmer climate, the competition attracts some of the biggest names in golf, all looking to add their names to illustrious list of winners here. Winners that include, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Of course, with such an array of golfing talent, comes great betting opportunities meaning the wily punter can do very well betting on this golfing Gulf feast.

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