US PGA Tour star Hunter Mahan will aim to become the first American winner of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy when he makes his Middle East debut in Doha from February 2-5.
Since its launch in 1998, the Commercialbank Qatar Masters has proved to be a difficult hunting ground for US players with European Tour stars proving to be hard to beat over the challenging 7,414-yard course at Doha Golf Club.
The 29 year-old Californian is one of a growing breed of globetrotting US stars and he will be keen to make his mark on a tournament that has historically attracted a powerful field and which, for 2012, includes fellow US PGA Tour star KJ Choi, World Number Two Lee Westwood, World Number Four Martin Kaymer and World Number Ten Jason Day.
A winner three times on the US PGA Tour, World Number 17 Mahan has also played for the US in three Presidents Cup teams and twice in The Ryder Cup – including in 2010 when he played in the final singles match against Graeme McDowell and lost out to the Northern Irishman on the penultimate hole at Celtic Manor in Wales.
“We always enjoy welcoming the US players to Qatar and while no American has managed to tame the course, it is surely only a matter of time before the Mother of Pearl trophy finds a US winner,” said Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), organisers of the $2.5 million event in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsors The Commercial Bank of Qatar.
“Hunter Mahan is one of a number of exciting young players and I am sure he will relish the chance of ending the barren spell for US players here in Doha. His singles match against Graeme McDowell was one of the highlights of the 2010 Ryder Cup and we are delighted that both players will be in our line up.”
While Mahan is a serious competitor on the course, he showed his fun side away from golf by joining forces with fellow US pros Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane and Bubba Watson in the ‘Golf Boys’, a spoof boy band created to raise funds for charitable initiatives. Their song ‘Oh Oh Oh” has already generated almost three million hits on You Tube.
“A boy band seemed like a good idea and it was so far removed from what we are like as players,” said Mahan. “But we wanted to break the mould a little bit and I think we did a pretty good job!”
Spectators looking to see Mahan and the rest of the 132-man field can buy tickets now at Doha Golf Club and the Marriott Courtyard with daily tickets priced at QR50, while a season ticket costs QR175, including live nightly entertainment from Billy Ocean, The Beat and Arrested Development in the Tournament Public Village.