Abdulla Al Raisi (third left), Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank and Hassan Al Nuaimi (third right), President, Qatar Golf Association (QGA) shake hands after signing an agreement at Doha Golf Club yesterday. Also seen are Mohammed Faisal Al Nuaimi (left), Head of Media, Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Hamad Al Marwani (second left), Chief Admin Officer, QAFCO Fahad Nasser Al Nuaimi (second right), General Secretary of QGA and Chris Myers, Tournament Manager and General Manager, Doha Golf Club (DGC). The $2.5m Commercial Bank Qatar Masters will be held at DGC from January 22 to 25.
pictures by: Qassim Rahmatullah
Doha: World No. 3 Henrik Stenson (pictured below) and former World No. 1 Luke Donald are the latest star players to confirm their participation at next week’s $2.5m Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which will be held at Doha Golf Club from January 22 to 25.
Both players were announced at a pre-event press conference held yesterday at Doha Golf Club, which has hosted the event since its inauguration in 1998.
Stenson, who lived in Dubai for a decade before moving to the US in early 2012, will compete in his 14th straight Qatar Masters, having played every year since joining The European Tour in 2001.
The popular Swede has enjoyed great success in Doha and famously won the title in 2006 – Commercial Bank’s first year as title sponsor – and also finished runner-up in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
Now, buoyed by the best season of his career during which he was arguably the world’s best player for the second half of 2013, the 37-year-old father-of-two is hoping to become the event’s third two-time winner and again get his hands on the iconic Mother of Pearl Trophy.
“I think it’s a great way to start the season, for me. I’ve played in the desert every year since I came out on Tour and I made the Middle East my home for close to 10 years. I’ve had great success there, winning both in Qatar and Dubai,” said Stenson, an eight-time winner on The European Tour.
“I’ve been second three times and won it once. It would be nice to get my hands on that lovely trophy. I think it’s one of the most beautiful trophies in golf. It’s heavy, I know that much! I held it once and I wouldn’t mind holding it again.”
Ranked as high as World No. 5 in 2007 and No. 4 in 2009, the two-time Ryder Cup player showed he was back to his best last summer by finishing runner-up at The Open Championship and third at the PGA Championship, the year’s third and fourth majors.
The Swede’s game then soared to a new level as two PGA Tour victories in September earned him the FedEx Cup, before he secured the Race to Dubai by winning The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November.
As he looks to continue this form in the new season, Stenson says Doha Golf Club remains a favourite hunting ground, especially as his 2006 win provided ‘a double revenge’ after being overtaken by Ernie Els a year earlier and finishing runner-up the previous week.
“It’s always nice to come back to tournaments where you’ve won, especially when you won and played well. You have a nice feeling about the golf course and the whole place, and that normally helps you have further success,” Stenson said.
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President, Qatar Golf Association, was thrilled to announce the latest two stars to sign up for the tournament, especially with both in winning form.
“Henrik Stenson is arguably the world’s most in-form golfer, while Luke Donald has been one of the world’s best for the past few years, so we’re absolutely delighted that both will be competing in the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters,” Al Nuaimi said.
“Henrik and Luke join a field already featuring the likes of Ernie Els, John Daly, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and defending champion Chris Wood, so spectators are in for a treat this year, especially as we’re still to confirm a couple more big names.”
Abdulla Al Raisi, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank, was also delighted with the field for the 17th edition of the tournament.
“Commercial Bank has been a proud sponsor of the Qatar Masters since 2006 and we’ve always taken pride in helping produce the best tournament possible for golf fans. This year’s field is sensational and spectators are set for a fantastic four days,” Al Raisi said.
“The chance to see Henrik Stenson in the form of his life, former World No. 1 Luke Donald, multiple major champions Ernie Els and John Daly, 20-time European Tour winner Miguel Angel Jimenez and Chris Wood defend his title after his memorable win last year is a special treat for golf lovers and sports fans.”
The 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters runs from January 22 to 25.
Meanwhile the organisers said the season tickets provide exceptional value, offering access to all four days of golf action, the public village and all evening entertainment for just QR325, more than 40% less than four single-day tickets.
Single-day and season tickets for the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters are available to purchase online at www.virginmegastore.me and in-store from Virgin Megastore shops in Villagio Mall and Landmark Mall, Doha, as well as Doha Golf Club.