Qatar Masters Betting Preview

Paul Lawrie

Paul Lawrie (Photo credit: Doha Stadium Plus)

Fourteen of the world’s top fifty players will be in action at this week’s European Tour stop, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. The Doha Golf Club will play host to some of the world’s best, including Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Dufner, the season debut of Sergio Garcia and defending champion Paul Lawrie.
 
2013 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Fact Sheet

  • Course: Doha Golf Club
  • Location: Doha, Qatar
  • Yardage: 7,412 yards, par 72
  • Defending Champion: Paul Lawrie

TV Schedule:

  • Wednesday – 5:00 AM to 9:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Thursday – 4:30 AM to 9:00 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 4:30 AM to 8:30 AM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 4:30 AM to 8:30 AM ET (Golf Channel)

 
The Doha Golf Club is the host this week, and at 7,412 yards, it is a longer course than most players play on the European or PGA Tours. You’d think that those who have more distance off the tee would have an advantage, but that really isn’t the case. Over the last five years, the leader in driving distance has only won this event once. Even more amazing is that over that same period, only one player who has finished in the top-5 at this event has also finished in the top-5 in driving accuracy. Doha presents some pretty average looking fairways, but the doglegs make them difficult at times. Luckily for the players, there is very little wind in the forecast, which has caused some issues in the past, especially last year when the event had to be shortened to 54 holes. The key hole will likely be drivable par-4 16th, which has played consistently under par since the tournament began in 1998, and should provide some excitement down the stretch, especially if the tournament is close.
 
Key Storyline This Week
 
Expect there to be some talk about Tiger Woods and the tournament organizers not being able to come to terms on an appearance fee. For what it’s worth, Woods and his agent denied that he was even considering the event, opting to play at the Farmers Insurance Open this week at Torrey Pines, a course where he’s won seven times.  Outside of that, the focus will likely be on Rose and Oosthuizen, although I’ll be watching Garcia closely. He’s won twice in the last four months, and he has five top-10’s in his last seven events worldwide. In a field full of solid, reliable players, Garcia is the true wildcard that could shake everything up.
 
Suggested Plays
 
Sweden’s Robert Karlsson touched on something this week on his Twitter account, noting that in his opinion, the PGA Tour simply has more depth than the European Tour. When you look at it realistically, he’s probably correct, and this week’s board is a perfect example of what he’s talking about. The first four or five guys in both fields this week are pretty comparable, but after that, the depth of the PGA Tour kinda takes over. What this means typically is shorter odds for bigger names in European Tour events, but there’s still some good value here this week.
 
Louis Oosthuizen (Best Odds 8-1 at Bet365)
 
Oosthuizen might be my favourite player in the game right now, and should be contending in every tournament he’s in this season. His track record at Doha isn’t great, with only two top-10’s in seven appearances, but he’s hotter than any other player in the field. He started his 2013 season by winning the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa, and he’s placed inside the top-6 in nine of his last fourteen events.
 
Sergio Garcia (Best Odds 12-1 at SkyBet)
 
One of the most under reported stories of 2012 is how well Garcia played. Nine top-10’s, including two victories worldwide, and despite his insistence that he doesn’t think he’s capable of winning a major championship, he certainly has the ability to do it. He’s played this event in each of the last six seasons and has four top-10 finishes. Garcia is consistently one of the best drivers of the golf ball in the world, and has started to find his putting stroke as well. He’s also known as a guy who gets off to a hot start to a season. It might be a little much to expect him to win his first event of 2013, but I like him to place high this week.
 
Branden Grace (Best Odds 26-1 at Betfair)
 
Grace finished tied for 47th here last year two weeks after winning back-to-back events. That’s his only appearance at Doha, so the track record isn’t great, but he’s played well again to start 2013, finishing 7th at the Volvo and 5th last week in Abu Dhabi. Everything seems to be trending upward for him right now, and 26-1 is too good to pass up for a guy who won four events last season.
 
Retief Goosen (Best Odds 75-1 at Betfair)
 
Goosen played his first event in almost five months at the Volvo two weeks ago, and didn’t look bad considering it was his return from back surgery. When he’s been healthy, he’s been a force at Doha, with a win, two other top-10’s and three top-25’s. If he’s as healthy as he says he is, 75-1 is a great price to get him at on an each-way bet. If he can’t play well this week, I don’t like his chances the rest of the year.
 
Richie Ramsay (Best Odds 89-1 at Betfair)
 
There’s no real positive course form here with Ramsay, as his best finish in Qatar came in 2010 when he ended up in 32nd place, and he’s actually never shot a round in the 60’s on this course in ten tries. So, why am I taking him? In his last 11 starts worldwide, he’s got five top-10’s, including a win, and he would have had six if he didn’t implode last Sunday in Abu Dhabi. Even when he’s struggling, he hits tons of fairways and greens. At 89-1, that’s good value on an each-way.

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