Commercial Bank Qatar Masters 2013 golf
We hit the green to find out about USD$2.5 million tournament Discuss this article
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Why do this type of event in Qatar?
Why not? Golf has become a global game over the past several years. We are blessed in Qatar to have an especially good quality golf course and a population who love sports. The Government of The State of Qatar actively support sport development in general and have proven to the rest of the world their interest in hosting major sports events such as the 2022 World Cup. Whilst golf is still growing in popularity amongst the national population, the Qatar Olympic Committee and Qatar Golf Association, led by Hassan Al Nuaimi, understand the value of hosting a major golf tournament as it exposes the rest of the world to Qatar’s ability to host professionally organized world class tournaments. In particular, Hassan Al Nuaimi has played a very important part in ensuring that the event is not only a key marker in the European Tour golf schedule, but that it is also well positioned as one of the most highly anticipated sports events on the Middle Eastern calendar.
What makes the course here in Qatar special? Is it a particularly hard course to play?
To be honest golf courses, like cars or food, are very subjective. One man’s idea of a great golf course may not be that of another. However, to host a major professional golf tournament, you need a combination of several things: a well reputed golf course layout, sufficient space for spectator viewing, hospitality buildings and temporary public facilities. In terms of the course, the professionals enjoy the fact that we are still a desert golf course with natural hazards rather than real estate surrounding the layout. Over the years we have developed a reputation for having extremely difficult rough grass which we do to even out the fact we purposely have slower greens than other championship courses. This is due to the fact we are fairly exposed to the wind on several greens and we all know how windy it can get in Qatar!
Speaking of wind, we heard it was a problem last year?
In 2012 we were very unfortunate to have some of the strongest ever winds blowing over the course over the first three days. In fact it was so bad on the Friday that we had to suspend play due to golf balls oscillating on several greens. It was unfortunate as we had to reduce the event to a 54 hole tournament to ensure finishing on time. At the end of the day though, it is all about who deals with the course and conditions the best and Paul Lawrie played extremely well in difficult conditions to emerge as our victor last year.
What and who should people be watching out for?
To be honest, all of the competitors are professional sportsmen and can make a golf ball do things most amateurs can only dream of, so just finding a good spot on the golf course to sit and relax and watch the groups coming through is worth the trip. A great viewing area is around the 16th green where you can see players on the 10th, 16th and 17th holes simultaneously. Watch out for Paul Lawrie – the 2012 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Champion and Ryder Cup star, who will be returning to defend his title in 2013.
Do you need to be a golf groupie to enjoy this?
Certainly not. Our tournament has developed a reputation for being very family friendly with title sponsor Commercial Bank and their partners putting on many activities for spectators and their families to enjoy beyond the golf. In 2013, ticket holders will be able to enjoy evening live music performances from Natasha Bedingfield and The Commitments, golf trick shot shows and a range of food and beverage options, in the Public Village area.
What about competition—has it changed since last year? Will it be steeper?
Every tournament with a field of professionals is going to be tough to win. Of course world rankings change week in week out as in any sport so the competition will be wide open but I think our winner will be the player who controls his ball best off the tee. That should give you a clue as to how difficult the rough may be for the tournament!
Just the facts
What is it: The 16th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, organised by the Doha Golf Club, the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), and Commercial Bank of Qatar. Sanctioned by the PGA European Tour, it sits at the heart of the European Tour’s three-week Middle East swing and promises at least three or four of the worlds’ best 15 players on the Qatar course.
When: January 23-26
Where: Doha Golf Club
Tickets: Adult tickets for Jan 23-24 are QR50, Jan 25-26, including evening entertainment, trick shot show and trophy presentation are QR125. Seasons tickets, with access to the entire event including all evening entertainment are QR250. Children under 15 are free, evening entertainment strictly 18 plus only. Tickets are available from Virgin Megastore, online at www.virginmegastore.me and the Doha Golf Club.
Monday 21: Official practice day
Tuesday 22: Pro-am, pro-am gala dinner Wednesday- Thursday 24: Competition
Friday 25: Day 3 of competition, followed with trick shot show by The Golf Trick Shot Boys and evening entertainment from Natasha Bedingfield in the Public Village
Saturday 26: Final round of competition followed by trophy presentation, trick shot show by The Golf Trick Shot Boys and evening entertainment from The Commitments in the Public Village
The 2013 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters features a mixed field of established champions and up-and-comers, with USD$2.5 million up for grabs along with valuable ranking points. At press time the players hadn’t been announced (check out www.qatar-masters.com for an updated list) but past winners are the glittering stars of the sport.
The Ryder Cup winner has confirmed he will return to defend his Commerical Bank Qatar Masters title this year. The Scottish golfer, nick named ‘Chippy’, is the event’s second two- time winner, having won the Mother of Pearl Trophy in 1999, the same year he won The Open Championship.
The Australian star is back, ready to snatch victory again after winning twice before: once in 2002 and again in 2008. He was ranked third in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2007 after finished second at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, and has been ranked inside the top 10 for over 220 weeks of his career. In 2012, he lost The Open Championship by a single stroke to Ernie Els.
The mammoth South African player (nick named ‘The Big Easy’ because of his height and his graceful golf swing was 2005’s winner. He has 65 victories to his name, including four major championships. Part of what’s known as the ‘Big Five’, he’s one of only six golfers to win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship twice.
The South African player won in 2007. One of the ‘Big Five’, he’s won the U.S. Open twice, and headed the European Tour Order of Merit in 2001 and 2002. After a slump in 2007-2008, he returned strong, finishing third at the African Open in 2012 before tying Ernie Els for second in the Volvo Golf Champions.
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