Four-time European Tour winner Raphaël Jacquelin of France has tied Søren Kjeldsen’s record of 19 appearances at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
Kjeldsen, Denmark’s top-ranked player, played in the first 19 editions of the European Tour event at Doha Golf Club, but is playing in the USA this week.
Jacquelin, 42, played in the inaugural Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 1998 and every edition from 2000, only missing out on the second edition won by Paul Lawrie. Jacquelin’s best finish was a tie for third in 2004.
“I thought I may have played every time. I can’t remember why I missed out in 1999. I remember Andy Coltart won in 1998, but that’s all I can remember about the first event. Anyway, I’ll come next year and make it 20,” said Jacquelin, who won European Tour titles in 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013.
“There have been a lot of changes to the tournament. Every year we come here, it gets better. Everything is made for us and it’s always good to come here. They treat us like kings, so it has been great.
“Also, it’s good to get this run from Abu Dhabi to Qatar to Dubai. For us in Europe, there’s no point staying home in the cold winter. This is the best place to come and practise and play golf. Three events in a row is perfect.”
Lawrie, who also won in 2012, and fellow two-time Ryder Cup player David Howell also played the first event in 1998 and are both playing the tournament for an 18th time. Lawrie missed out in 2000 and 2003, while Howell was absent in 2005 and 2007.
First held in 1998, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has helped establish Qatar as a world-class sporting venue and is considered the country’s annual ‘must-attend’ sporting and social event. Sitting at the heart of the European Tour’s Middle East swing, the tournament attracted over 25,000 spectators in 2016 and was broadcast to a global TV audience of over 400 million.