World class field to feature in 15th Qatar Masters golf
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA THE 15TH Commercialbank Qatar Masters due to start at the Doha Golf Club on February 2 has drawn an attractive star cast. While Thomas Bjorn will return to defend the title, five of the top 20 players led by No 2 Lee Westwood will be participating in the tournament.
Two golf stars making their debut this year are world No 10 from Australia Jason Day and US Ryder Cup team member Hunter Mahan, it was announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Other big names coming to Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy, are world No 4 Martin Kaymer, 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, TPC champion KJ Choi and reigning Dubai World Champion and 2009 Qatar Masters winner Alvaro Quiros.
Rising talents Matteo Mannasero and Tom Lewis will try to challenge seasoned campaigners like Major winners Todd Hamilton, Shaun Micheel, Ben Curtis, Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Paul Lawrie.
Talks are said to be on to bring more popular golf faces just before the start of the $2.5 million tournament, the second in the famed Gulf Swing.
Commercial Bank Deputy CEO Abdulla al Raeisi, Dolphin Energy General Manager Adel Albuainain, Qatar Golf Association President Hussan al Nuaimi and Doha Golf Club General Manager Chris Myers, who is also the event manager, were present at the first official press conference.
Raeisi said: “Sporting events rely on a strong infrastructure, professional management and the commitment of sponsors. This event also enjoys a partnership between the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee and title sponsor the CommercialBank of Qatar.
“Thanks to the support of our partners at the QOC under the guidance of Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Thani, and the QGA, under president Hassan al Nuaimi, a world-class field will battle it out at the 15th staging of one of the best events on the European Tour and underline Qatar’s position as a rapidly developing global sporting venue,” added Raeisi.
He also emphasized that it would not have been possible to reach this status without the vision of the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and the Heir Apparent HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.
The first appearance of Jason Day and Hunter Mahan – two of the brightest talents in the game – once again showcases the tournament’s reputation for attracting fresh and exciting talents to the Middle East.
With two titles under his belt, Day sprung to prominence with two successive second- place finishes at the 2011 Masters and 2011 US Open before the Australian soared to his career high world No 7
Mahan, the 29 year old world No 17, has three wins on the US PGA Tour and has figured in two Ryder Cup and three Presidents Cup teams.
QGA Chief Nuaimi thanked the sponsors and partners for another edition, which has a thrilling blend of experience, current stars and potential future Major winners.
“Naturally, we are excited that big names such as Jason Day and Hunter Mahan have agreed to play this year. But we are also delighted to welcome our friends like Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, who have been the world No 1 in the recent past.” He also added that fans would have to pay a modest entrance fee to watch the action. “The daily tickets are priced at QR 50 while a season ticket will cost QR 175.” Dolphin Energy GM Albuainain said: “Dolphin Energy is proud to play its part and help showcase the ambition that Qatar has become associated with. Our donation programme will enter its third year and we look forward to sustaining the high levels of success again in the 2012,” he added. “Dolphin Energy has joined hands with the Tour Players Foundation, the charitable foundation of the European Tour, and its members to drive the initiative further.
The foundation which supports many charitable programmes during the season, has offered to make a matching donation of the amount raised during the Qatar Masters,” said Albuainain.
DGC GM and Event Manager Chris Myers said the course was in a perfect shape for the event and many events have been finalised to enhance the golfing experience at the Doha Golf Club.
“Golf clinic, trick golf show and various contests for kids are some of the initiatives we have planned during the event this year.
“Also we have planned live entertainment performances by Billy Ocean, The Beat and Arrested Development bands so that the visitors could enjoy the whole day at the club,” added Myers.