Australia’s World Number Ten Jason Day and US Ryder Cup star Hunter Mahan will join a powerful field when the 2012 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy is staged at Doha Golf Club from February 2-5.
For both US PGA stars it will be their first attempt at tackling the 7,414-yard course – widely considered the toughest Middle East challenge on The European Tour – and they will do so in the company of some of the biggest names in European golf.
Also confirmed in the line-up are World Number Two Lee Westwood, World Number Four Martin Kaymer, 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, TPC Champion KJ Choi, and reigning Dubai World Champion and former Commercialbank Qatar Masters winner Alvaro Quiros.
Add in up-and-coming stars Matteo Mannasero and Tom Lewis plus former Major winners Todd Hamilton, Shaun Micheel, Ben Curtis, Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell and Paul Lawrie and it’s a line-up that is among the strongest seen in the fifteen years of the Tournament.
At a press conference staged to launch the countdown to the $2.5 million event, Commercialbank Deputy CEO Abdulla Al Raisi (below left) said the Tournament would once again cement Qatar’s place as a growing global sporting destinations.
“Sporting events rely on a strong infrastructure, professional management and the commitment of sponsors,” he said of an event that continues to enjoy a partnership between the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsors The Commercialbank of Qatar.
“Thanks to the support of our partners at the Qatar Olympic Committee under the guidance of its president His Excellency Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and at the Qatar Golf Association under the presidency of Hassan Al Naimi, a world-class field will battle it out at the fifteenth staging of one of the best events on The European Tour’s International Schedule and underline this country’s position as a rapidly developing global sporting venue.”
Mr Al Raisi reiterated that none of it would have been possible without the vision of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and His Highness the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“Without their drive and commitment to the social and economic development of this country, Qatar would not be able to host such events as this golf tournament and, ultimately, the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup 2022. We at The Commercialbank of Qatar are proud and honoured to play our part in such a story.”
The first appearance of Jason Day and Hunter Mahan – two of the brightest talents in the game – once again maintains the Tournament’s reputation for attracting fresh and exciting talent to the Middle East.
Day, who has won twice since turning pro, sprung to prominence last year with two consecutive second place finishes at the 2011 Masters and the 2011 US Open before the 24 year-old Australian rose to a career high placing of world number seven. Twenty nine year-old Mahan – the World Number 17 - has three wins on the US PGA Tour and has played in two Ryder Cups and on three Presidents Cup teams.
“The field we have put together for 2012 is an exciting blend of experience, current stars and potential Major winners of the future,” said QGA President Hassan Al Naimi. “Naturally we are excited that big names such as Jason Day and Hunter Mahan have agreed to take time out from playing on the US PGA Tour but we are also delighted to welcome back friends such as Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer who have both held the World Number One spot in recent months.”
The 2012 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy gets underway with the Pro-Am on February 1 before the field takes to the course for the tournament itself from February 2-5.
Tickets for the tournament are on sale now at Doha Golf Club and the Marriott Hotel with daily tickets priced at QR50, while a season ticket for all four days play is priced at QR 175 – entrance also includes live nightly entertainment from Billy Ocean, The Beat and Arrested Development in the Tournament Village.
“We have worked hard to give players, public and sponsors and enjoyable experience when they visit the Commercialbank Qatar Masters,” said Tournament Manager and Doha Golf Club General Manager Chris Myers. “The QGA, QOC and Commercialbank have brought together a strong field, whilst the Doha Golf Club staff have worked hard to get the course into championship shape.”
With a worldwide global TV audience, the Tournament will again help promote Qatar and its sporting attractions to golf fans across the world.
“International exposure is obviously important to everyone involved in the tournament,” added Al Raisi. “With the support of our family of sponsors, we are able to stage an occasion that is on par with the best golf events in the world and one that is watched by people in every corner of the planet.”