World No. 2 Henrik Stenson has confirmed that he will compete in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for a 15th straight year as he bids to add to his 2006 success at Doha Golf Club.
Stenson joins defending champion Sergio Garcia, currently World No. 7, among the stars who have already confirmed their participation in the 18th edition of the tournament, which will be held from January 21-24, 2015.
Stenson, 38, shot up to second place on the Official World Golf Ranking after retaining his title at The European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The tall Swede finished on 16-under-par at Jumeirah Golf Estates, two shots ahead of World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Victor Dubuisson – all teammates from Europe’s winning Ryder Cup team in September, when Stenson won three out of four points.
Stenson’s Dubai success helped him finish second to McIlroy in this year’s Race to Dubai after a strong end to the season, which included a third place finish at the previous week’s Turkish Airlines Open and a runner-up finish at October’s Volvo World Match Play Championship in England.
“I’m obviously delighted to finish The European Tour season strongly and hold on to the trophy in Dubai, so I’m already looking forward to the start of next year and returning to Doha Golf Club for the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters,” said Stenson, who finished joint 28th in Doha last year.
“I always enjoy returning to a tournament I’ve won before and I’ve always generally done well in Doha, as I like the course. I’ve got a good record there, so I’m really looking forward to being among those trying to take the trophy from Sergio this time. As I’ve said before, it’s one of the most beautiful trophies in golf and I’d like to lift it again.”
Stenson, who lived in Dubai for a decade before moving to the US in early 2012, has competed in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters every year since joining The European Tour in 2001 and enjoyed great success in Doha. He famously won the tournament in 2006 – Commercial Bank’s first year as the event’s title sponsor – and finished runner-up in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
Stenson’s recent victory in Dubai was his ninth on The European Tour, while he has won four times on the US PGA Tour, including twice last year when he won both the FedExCup and The Race to Dubai.
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, said Stenson’s early commitment to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters was a huge boost.
“Henrik Stenson has always shown immense loyalty to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and we’re always so happy each time he returns to Doha Golf Club, where he has won and performed so well on so many occasions,” Al Nuaimi said.
“Henrik is one of the world’s very best players and his recent performances on The European Tour have helped him rise to World No. 2, so we’re expecting him to be among Sergio Garcia’s main challengers in January. It’s already looking like an exciting line-up.”
Commercial Bank is marking its 10th year as title sponsor of the event, during which time champions have included Garcia, Stenson and fellow Ryder Cup representatives Thomas Bjørn, Paul Lawrie and Robert Karlsson, former World No. 1 Adam Scott and two-time US Open Champion Retief Goosen.
Abdullah Saleh Al Raisi, CEO of Commercial Bank, said: “Commercial Bank is sponsoring the Qatar Masters for a 10th straight year and Henrik Stenson has competed in every one of those editions, so it’s very special for us that he’ll be with us at Doha Golf Club in January to help us mark a decade of engagement with this great tournament.”
“The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters regularly boasts one of the strongest fields on The European Tour International Schedule and the early confirmations of Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia indicate that the field for the upcoming event will be among the strongest ever.”
Many of the world’s top golfers compete each year at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which has been held at Doha Golf Club since its inauguration in 1998. The club’s desert-type Championship Course is one of the longest par 72 courses on The European Tour.
Tickets are expected to go on sale mid-December, and will be available at Virgin Megastores (in store and online), Doha Golf Club, and the Doha Rugby F.C. Day and Season Passes will be available for purchase, giving access to fun-packed activities, the Public Village live concert and much more.