Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2021: Your form guide ahead of this week's event in the Persian Gulf

Abu Dhabi Golf Club has hosted this week's Rolex Series event since 2006.
Abu Dhabi Golf Club stages the opening event of the 2021 European Tour season.

The European Tour is open for business and returns with a bang in Abu Dhabi, where the opening Rolex Series event of 2021 tees-off. Words and stats by Andy Swales...

"McIlroy made his Abu Dhabi debut as a teenager and, in 10 starts since 2008, has stood on the podium seven times – yet remarkably has never held aloft the trophy."

The European Tour opens its 2021 calendar with an immediate return to the Middle East.

After closing last season with a brace of tournaments in the Gulf States, the Tour heads back to the region for three more lucrative events.

First up is the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which is also the opening Rolex Series event of the new campaign.

With a total prize fund of $8m, of which $1.33m goes to the winner, the tournament has attracted a decent field which includes five top-20 ranked players.

First staged in 2006, the event has remained at Abu Dhabi Golf Club throughout its history and is now one of the foremost stops on the European Tour schedule.

Birdies' barrage

With an average winning score of exactly 270 - 18-under-par - Abu Dhabi has gained a reputation for being a birdie-fest.

This long, flat desert layout has reasonably wide fairways and large greens, while water comes into play on 11 holes.

The course was toughened up ahead of the 2012 instalment but, after a brief halt to scores of 270 and below, winning 72-hole totals have slowly returned to levels witnessed during the early years.

Opened in 1998, Abu Dhabi has plenty of sand - both official and unofficial - with four sharp dog-leg holes.

On the tee

The only golfer in this week's field to have played competitively this year is Justin Thomas, who was third at Kapalua two weeks' ago.

For most of those teeing-up, this will be their first taste of tournament action for at least six weeks.

Thomas, however, will be making his first start at Abu Dhabi where the form guy is Rory McIlroy.

Check out the latest betting ahead of this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy made his Abu Dhabi debut as a teenager and, in 10 starts since 2008, has stood on the podium seven times - yet remarkably has never held aloft the trophy.

Two Englishmen who also have good records here are Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood - the latter is a two-time champion.

In fact, both have solid histories on desert courses in the Middle East, with Fitzpatrick winning the European Tour finale in Dubai twice - most recently last month.

Although the 26-year-old from Sheffield is not recognised as being the longest of hitters, it has not prevented him from making big money on courses which do tend to favour the men of muscle.

Others with respectable records on this course, include Bernd Wiesberger, Martin Kaymer and Joost Luiten.

Kaymer is actually a three-time champion in Abu Dhabi, posting a trio of victories between 2008 and 2011. He returned to the world's top 100 last September.

He also tied-eighth 12 months ago when the German topped the category for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green.

But with birdies ready to be unleashed as ever, a hot putter remains vital in Abu Dhabi.

And with all but one of this week's contingent needing to dust off their Christmas and New Year cob-webs, making a quick start on Thursday will definitely be important.

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

Note: List Contains Leading Reserves

Last 10 Weeks / Abu Dhabi Form (2011-20)

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W3 W2 W1 W52 W51 W50 W49 W48 W47 W46
Justin Thomas 3 12 4
Rory McIlroy 5
Tyrrell Hatton 8 23 MC
Matthew Fitzpatrick 1 MC 46
Tommy Fleetwood 10 37 19
Victor Perez 7 46
Shane Lowry 50 25
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 14 1 1 15 38
Lee Westwood 2 MC 38
Justin Rose MC 23
Bernd Wiesberger 36 8 4 58
Ian Poulter 43 50 25
Matt Wallace 29 2 37 46
Robert MacIntyre 23 19 6
Andy Sullivan 10 2 MC
Henrik Stenson 36 23 MC
Danny Willett 32 30 MC 25
Sami Valimaki 5 13
Lucas Herbert
Tom Lewis 23
Aaron Rai 51 50
Martin Kaymer 14 37
Graeme McDowell Wd MC 59 MC
Thomas Detry 29 37
Thomas Pieters 36 25
Rasmus Hojgaard 51 MC
Garrick Higgo 14 MC MC 61
Jazz Janewattananond 57 37 51
George Coetzee 29 40 MC
John Catlin 54
Rafael Cabrera-Bello MC 54 51
Antoine Rozner 36 1 20
Marcus Kinhult 32 62
Matthias Schwab 14 13
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 2
Jorge Campillo 57 66 MC
Romain Langasque
Laurie Canter 5 MC
Callum Shinkwin 36 30
Adri Arnaus 10 MC 6 MC
Eddie Pepperell 54 50 64
Kurt Kitayama
Benjamin Hebert 61 MC
Joachim B Hansen 43 20 1
Paul Waring 25
Renato Paratore 60 13
Francesco Laporta 2
Adrian Otaegui 14 37 20 51
Kalle Samooja 23 MC
Wilco Nienaber 23 11 12 2
Masahiro Kawamura 14 23 MC
Justin Harding 48 MC
Joost Luiten 43 11 31 MC
Jamie Donaldson 36 2 MC
Hao Tong Li 56
Min Woo Lee
Marcus Armitage 61 45 6 30
Joakim Lagergren 8
Dean Burmester 14 4 MC 18
Richard Bland 40 2 7
Adrian Meronk MC 2 MC
Gavin Green 57 MC 47 74
Sebastian Soderberg 19
Jordan Smith 47 25
Calum Hill 14 13
Matthew Jordan 37 25 23
Brandon Stone 23 32 23 4
Guido Migliozzi MC
Wade Ormsby
Ryan Fox
Sean Crocker 14 22 2 MC
Sebastian Heisele MC
Ross Fisher 51 7
Andrew Johnston
Matthew Southgate
Marc Warren 32 8
David Lipsky
Jason Scrivener
Robert Rock 32 45
Scott Jamieson 48 32 6 20
Nicolas Colsaerts 37
Pablo Larrazabal 48 35 39
Mikko Korhonen 30
Steven Brown 8 51 61
Andrea Pavan Wd MC
Jack Senior 58 MC 76
Ross McGowan MC MC MC
Chris Paisley
Oliver Farr MC 20 30
Dave Horsey 22 31
Justin Walters 20 25 30
Richie Ramsay
Jeff Winther MC
Kiradech Aphibarnrat Wd
Alexander Bjork MC
Joel Stalter 68 MC
Padraig Harrington
Grant Forrest 64 6 56
Scott Hend MC MC MC
Robin Roussel 64 31 MC
Zander Lombard MC MC 15
Victor Dubuisson
Richard Sterne 25 47 MC
Alexander Levy MC 6 MC
Matthieu Pavon 54 58 57 MC
Lorenzo Gagli MC MC
Fabrizio Zanotti MC 11 MC
Thorbjorn Olesen 13
Shubhankar Sharma 55 MC MC
Ashun Wu
Lucas Bjerregaard MC MC
Cormac Sharvin MC 25 MC
Nino Bertasio MC
James Morrison 19
David Drysdale MC MC MC
Julien Guerrier 9 MC
Julian Suri MC 35 23
Maximilian Kieffer MC
Nacho Elvira MC MC
Edoardo Molinari
Ricardo Santos MC MC MC
Oliver Fisher MC MC MC
Oliver Wilson 13 61
Alvaro Quiros 46 MC 42
Gaganjeet Bhullar
Tapio Pulkkanen 58
Ashley Chesters
Soren Kjeldsen MC
Haydn Porteous MC MC MC
Stephen Gallacher 30
Robert Karlsson
David Law 25 MC MC
Richard McEvoy MC 25 42
Thomas Bjorn
Thomas Aiken
David Howell Wd MC
Chris Wood MC 39
Kristoffer Broberg
Ahmed Marjan
Raphael Jacquelin MC MC
Arjun Gupta
Ahmed Skaik MC
Player `20 `19 `18 `17 `16 `15 `14 `13 `12 `11
Justin Thomas
Rory McIlroy 3 3 2 2 MC 2 2
Tyrrell Hatton MC 15 13 46 6 10
Matthew Fitzpatrick 2 3 MC 26 MC
Tommy Fleetwood 2 42 1 1 MC MC 19 MC MC
Victor Perez 2 54
Shane Lowry MC 1 MC MC MC
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 59 MC
Lee Westwood 1 16 MC 8 MC 17 64
Justin Rose 22 12 2
Bernd Wiesberger 8 42 15 4 26 6 MC 21 MC
Ian Poulter MC 6 MC 39 14 MC
Matt Wallace 64 16 32
Robert MacIntyre 63
Andy Sullivan 21 32 53 73 22 57 19 68
Henrik Stenson MC 8 8 3 MC MC 23 MC 42
Danny Willett MC MC 54 57 19 23 MC 69
Sami Valimaki
Lucas Herbert 67 54
Tom Lewis MC 9 MC MC 45 61 MC
Aaron Rai MC 54
Martin Kaymer 8 22 27 4 16 3 31 6 MC 1
Graeme McDowell MC 3 3
Thomas Detry 55 65 9
Thomas Pieters 30 16 5 MC 2 4 MC
Rasmus Hojgaard MC
Garrick Higgo
Jazz Janewattananond
George Coetzee MC MC MC 60 35 37 4 9 6
John Catlin
Rafael Cabrera-Bello 12 11 40 19 14 MC 4 23 48 7
Antoine Rozner
Marcus Kinhult MC MC
Matthias Schwab 42 22
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 34 32 40 57 52 31
Jorge Campillo 34 54 14 39 MC 63 49 9
Romain Langasque 34 39
Laurie Canter
Callum Shinkwin MC 54 MC 23 MC
Adri Arnaus 51 22
Eddie Pepperell MC 49 MC MC 46 26 45
Kurt Kitayama 34 67
Benjamin Hebert MC 27 32 29 46 MC
Joachim B Hansen MC 54 MC MC
Paul Waring 12 6 MC MC MC 37 MC 46
Renato Paratore 21 54 MC MC MC 57
Francesco Laporta 17
Adrian Otaegui MC MC 40 70 MC
Kalle Samooja MC MC
Wilco Nienaber
Masahiro Kawamura 17
Justin Harding 51
Joost Luiten 42 3 48 29 5 6 6 42 23
Jamie Donaldson MC MC 29 9 56 1 30 11
Hao Tong Li 41 MC MC
Min Woo Lee MC
Marcus Armitage MC
Joakim Lagergren 21 MC 53 MC 22
Dean Burmester MC 49 40 7
Richard Bland MC MC MC 52 55 65 48 67
Adrian Meronk MC
Gavin Green 21 32
Sebastian Soderberg 42 MC
Jordan Smith 21 11 61 39
Calum Hill MC
Matthew Jordan
Brandon Stone 21 MC 61 26 19
Guido Migliozzi MC
Wade Ormsby 51 MC MC MC 26 MC 28
Ryan Fox MC 27 32 19
Sean Crocker 42 MC
Sebastian Heisele 21
Ross Fisher 6 54 2 19 35 9 MC 42 31
Andrew Johnston 69 MC 9 71 45
Matthew Southgate MC 42 MC MC
Marc Warren MC 49 MC MC 37 MC MC MC
David Lipsky 30 16 MC 39 MC MC
Jason Scrivener 59 16 48 39
Robert Rock MC MC MC MC 26 37 MC Wd 1 MC
Scott Jamieson 8 11 MC 36 46 MC MC MC
Nicolas Colsaerts 42 42 32 MC MC 26 24 11
Pablo Larrazabal MC 6 MC 2 26 MC 1 39 MC 11
Mikko Korhonen MC MC 22 60 69
Steven Brown MC MC
Andrea Pavan MC MC MC 56
Jack Senior 30
Ross McGowan 31
Chris Paisley MC MC 5 29 MC MC
Oliver Farr 57
Dave Horsey MC 11 MC 29 35 MC MC 69 63 53
Justin Walters 55 42 MC MC Dq
Richie Ramsay 42 69 40 57 16 MC 23 48 MC
Jeff Winther 59
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 42 MC 22 4 72 45 MC
Alexander Bjork 69 32 MC 13
Joel Stalter
Padraig Harrington MC MC 23 35 Dq
Grant Forrest 66 42
Scott Hend 17 27 22 MC 54 31
Robin Roussel
Zander Lombard 34 70 MC
Victor Dubuisson 69 MC 4 MC MC
Richard Sterne MC 2 19 37
Alexander Levy MC 67 7 MC MC 20 56 MC
Matthieu Pavon 55 MC MC MC
Lorenzo Gagli MC 32 35
Fabrizio Zanotti MC 32 9 MC 26 MC MC 56 MC 67
Thorbjorn Olesen MC 53 29 72 50 56 2 8
Shubhankar Sharma 59 MC 48
Ashun Wu MC MC 22 16
Lucas Bjerregaard 49 69 66 MC MC
Cormac Sharvin
Nino Bertasio MC 71 53 MC
James Morrison MC 32 MC MC 54 6 MC MC MC
David Drysdale 55 MC MC 57 22 66 MC 35 MC
Julien Guerrier MC
Julian Suri
Maximilian Kieffer MC 22 MC 12 16 26 31
Nacho Elvira 67 MC MC 36 MC 63
Edoardo Molinari 21 49 MC MC 28 MC MC MC
Ricardo Santos 52 4
Oliver Fisher 42 MC MC 23 35 12 37 66 63 MC
Oliver Wilson MC MC 37 42
Alvaro Quiros MC 65 61 49 MC MC 31 MC 23
Gaganjeet Bhullar MC 27 10 MC
Tapio Pulkkanen MC MC
Ashley Chesters 42 MC MC
Soren Kjeldsen 51 5 48 54 MC MC 32 MC 37
Haydn Porteous 59 MC 53 MC MC
Stephen Gallacher MC MC 61 MC MC 8 MC 35 31
Robert Karlsson MC MC 32 70 MC 45 8 24
David Law 69 MC
Richard McEvoy MC MC MC MC
Thomas Bjorn 65 22 30 23 11 10 52 3 MC
Thomas Aiken MC MC MC 13 MC 19 MC 48 MC
David Howell 73 MC 35 MC 37 6 MC 23
Chris Wood MC MC MC MC 65 70 MC 23
Kristoffer Broberg MC 32 MC 35 45 MC MC
Ahmed Marjan
Raphael Jacquelin MC 63 MC MC MC 31 37 39 63 23
Arjun Gupta
Ahmed Skaik MC

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