Last weeks event in Abu Dhabi didn’t provide the perfect start for Nike and Rory McIlroy and with Tiger Woods incurring a two shot penalty after the conclusion of the second round meaning he missed the cut by a shot, it wasn’t the high profile start for team Nike. But it was a great week for the eventual winner Jamie Donaldson who picked up his second win in 13 starts, this after taking 255 starts to claim his first win in the 2012 Irish Open.
This week the European Tour stays in the Gulf region for The Commercial Qatar Masters being played at the Doha Golf Club. The tournament was first played in 1998 and is the oldest of the three tournaments played in the region. It started out as one of the smaller events on the schedule and struggled to attract any of the top 50 players in the world, now it carries one of the biggest prize funds and many of the top players, with 14 of the world’s top 50 competing this week for the magnificent pearl trophy.
The tournament holds the European Tour record for the fewest number of shots between the halfway leaders (−6) and the cut mark (−1) set in 2004, when Swede Joakim Haeggman won by a shot from Japan’s Nobuhito Sato. Defending champion Paul Lawrie holds the lowest winning score when he finished up at 20 under par on his first victory in this event back in 1999. That year his winning margin of 7 shots was also the biggest in the history of the event.
The Doha Golf Club is one of the first grass golf course ever built in the Middle East, it will play at 7412yds and as a par of 72. The course was designed by Peter Harradine and opened in 1997 only a year before the first staging of the Qatar Masters. The course has 8 lakes positioned throughout and because the course was built in the desert, 65 giant cacti were imported from the deserts of Arizona and more than 10 000 green trees and shrubs planted to provide a challenge to those straying from the fairway.
With seven major champions in the field and many players hitting form it is sure to be another exciting week. Can Henrik Stenson win here for a second time, he is making his way back up the rankings and is sitting just outside the World’s top 50 and has one win and 3 runners up finishes in Doha or can Jamie Donaldson win again.