Garcia, 34, lifted the Mother of Pearl Trophy on his ninth attempt, having first competed in the event as a 19-year-old in 1999. He has competed in Doha every year since 2007, posting six top-10s in his last seven appearances.
The popular Spaniard, who helped Europe win the Ryder Cup last month, is currently second in this year’s Race to Dubai behind World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, but already has one eye on his 10th appearance in Doha.
“I always enjoy the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and it will mean a lot to me to arrive in Doha as defending champion this time,” said Garcia, whose supporters at Doha Golf Club included Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke when he won his 11th European Tour title.
“It was fantastic to lift the Mother of Pearl Trophy in January and it really acted as a springboard for one of my most consistent seasons. I like the Doha Golf Club course, I like the weather in Qatar at that time of the year and the fans are always great. I have good friends in Doha and a great relationship with the Qatar Golf Association and its president Hassan Al Nuaimi, so all in all I really enjoy going there, which is also why I have a good record in Qatar.”
Last month, Garcia won 2½ points out of four to help Europe win the Ryder Cup for the fifth time in his seven appearances. Garcia and McIlroy bounced back from losing their first match at Gleneagles to win 1½ points from their next two matches, before the Spaniard beat Jim Furyk, USA’s top-ranked player, in the singles.
It was just the latest milestone in an impressive 2013/14 season during which Garcia has risen to World No. 3. Following his win in Doha, Garcia’s joint runner-up finish behind McIlroy at The Open Championship in July was among four second-place finishes, while he also picked up two thirds, two fourths and three more top-10s, while only missing one cut.
“Looking ahead to next season and in particular to the new year in January; I would like to start strongly again in Doha. I can’t promise to win, but I can promise to give my best and I’ve got a pretty good record there.”
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, said the return of the 2014 champion was a great boost to the 18th edition of the country’s leading golf tournament.
“We are always delighted to welcome back Sergio Garcia to the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, although this time it is even more special as he will return as defending champion and arguably more popular than ever, especially after his outstanding season and helping Europe to win the Ryder Cup,” Al Nuaimi said.
“The tournament is one of the highlights of Qatar’s sporting calendar and having Sergio commit to defending his title so early is a huge boost for golf and sports fans here.”
Commercial Bank is marking its 10th year as title sponsor of the event, during which time champions have included Garcia, Ryder Cup representatives Henrik Stenson, Thomas Björn, 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 proud to be title sponsor of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for a 10th straight year. The event has grown immeasurably in that time and now boasts one of the strongest fields on The European Tour calendar,”
“Sergio Garcia’s commitment to defending his title in 2015 is a sign of things to come. We look forward to announcing more star players in the coming months and to again helping put on a spectacular week for fans at Doha Golf Club.”
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.