Commercialbank Qatar Masters

Reigning Champion Lawrie Pays Tribute to Rose, Olazabal for Ryder Cup Win

American star Dufner still disappointed by defeat

Paul Lawrie, who is defending his Commercial Bank Qatar Masters title at Doha Golf Club this week, paid tribute to World Number Four Justin Rose and Captain Jose Maria Olazabalas he looked back on Europe's stunning Ryder Cup win in late September.

Rose, Olazabal and 2012 Ryder Cup teammates Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson are also competing this week in Doha, where Lawrie is attempting to lift the Mother of Pearl Trophy for a record third time. Adam Scott is the tournament's only other two-time winner following victories in 2002 and 2008.

Lawrie, who first won in Qatar in 1999, the year of his Open Championship win and only other Ryder Cup appearance, said Olazabal's inspiring leadership and Rose's dramatic comeback against Phil Mickelson helped trigger the remarkable run of wins in Sunday's singles that resulted in the 'Miracle at Medinah'.

"I don't think it gets any better than that. When we were four points down, in America, I don't think anyone thought we could win, but Jose did," said Lawrie, who finished 10th in last year's Race to Dubai.

"He believed on the Saturday night that we could all win our matches, never mind the 8.5 points we needed. When you've got someone like him giving 110 per cent and he believes you can all win, then you think you can."

Lawrie was the fifth European to tee off in the singles and the Scot was six-under after 15 holes to seal a remarkable 5 & 3 victory over FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker, who was fresh off his victory in the US PGA Tour Championship.

Rose, meanwhile, had teed off in the prior match and was involved in a gripping duel with Mickelson that the Englishman eventually won 1-up after landing long birdie putts on the final two holes. Lawrie believes the match was the tipping point of a fiercely fought three-day contest.

"A few of us got ahead on Sunday and won, and when Justin Rose turned his match, that was the turning point. I was on the course when that happened. How he won that game, I still don't know. He holed a couple of 10-footers, a 40-footer, and he won 1-up from 1-down playing the 16th, so he did really well and that was the kind of start we needed," Lawrie said.

"When you get things like that, it just snowballs. It snowballed for us and it goes the wrong way for them. The negativity creeps in and they're looking up at the board and seeing all the American scores going the wrong way."

Lawrie himself was on the wrong side of such a defeat during the much-hyped clash at Brookline in 1999, when Europe led 10-6 after Saturday before the US dominated Sunday's singles and won 14.5-13.5.

"I've been there and it's tough. I remember Brookline was the opposite for us, when we should have won and we didn't," Lawrie said. "You look up at the board, results are going against you and it's just so hard to keep going."

Rose, who is competing in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Qatar for the fifth time, has revelled in the response to Team Europe's victory. The tall Englishman had an outstanding year and reached a career-high ranking of four by the end of the season, but said the Ryder Cup victory in particular had resonated with fans around the world.

"The European Tour has such a big reach globally, so the reception I've received throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, where I've played since the Ryder Cup, has been amazing," said Rose, whose singles win over Mickelson followed two foursomes wins in partnership with good friend Ian Poulter.

"I'm now really looking forward to playing in front of the fans in Doha this week, as I have no doubt they'll provide a fantastic atmosphere."

However, American star Jason Dufner, who is making his tournament debut in Doha this week, has a very different perspective of the Ryder Cup, despite a fantastic individual performance in his first appearance in the competition.

Dufner, the World Number 11, won two of three pairings with compatriot Zach Johnson and also beat Hanson in the singles, but says even his own performance gave him little to cheer about.

"I didn't take anything away personally. I was pretty disappointed," said Dufner, a two-time winner on last year's US PGA Tour.

"I just keep thinking whether I could have done more to get a point or half a point, or could I have helped a teammate get a point or half a point. I still don't feel good about it."

The 35-year-old admitted to feeling surprisingly comfortable in his competition debut, despite the intensity of the spectator support.

"The crowd, the environment, were way more intense than I expected, even having watched it many times before. However, playing wise, I actually felt more comfortable than when I've played the final round of a Major. Maybe it was because I was playing with teammates and I felt like I was showcasing my skills, but I felt comfortable."

Dufner is now looking to be part of Tom Watson's team that travels to Scotland in 2014 when the USA will try to regain the trophy they last won in 2008.

"I think Tom Watson is a really good choice," Dufner said. "He has great experience and he knows Scotland. He's going back to Scotland, where he's popular and he's had a lot of success on both sides of the 'Pond'."

Paul McGinley, recently appointed Captain of Team Europe for the 2014 Ryder Cup, is also in this week's field in Doha.

Other leading players include World Number Five Louis Oosthuizen, four-time Major winner Ernie Els and two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, all from South Africa. Els (2005) and Goosen (2007) are past winners of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, while Oosthuizen was runner-up in 2009.