Defending champion Sergio Garcia, runner up in 2013, is aiming to become the first man to retain the Mother of Pearl Trophy

Lowdown:
Last year’s Qatar Masters came down to a tense play-off. A final day charge by the previous year’s runner-up Sergio Garcia, who closed with 65, took him to 16 under and into the clubhouse as leader. But Mikko Ilonen birdied two of the last three holes to force a sudden-death play-off down the par-5 18th. Both got on the green in two, but Ilonen missed his eagle putt from 30ft and Garcia his from 15ft. Second time down the hole, Ilonen missed an eagle from 20ft for victory after Garcia had got up and down from a greenside bunker. Third time down Illonen found the same bunker as Garcia had but, unlike Garcia, could not get up and down from it and so Garcia took the title, his 11th on the European Tour.

Venue: Doha Golf Club, Qatar
Date: January 21-24
Course stats: par 72, 7,400 yards
Purse: €2,500,000 Winner: €353,257
Defending Champion: Sergio Garcia (-16)

TV Coverage:
Wednesday 21 – Sky Sports 4 from 6.30am
Thursday 22- Sky Sports 4 from 6.30am
Friday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 9.30am
Saturday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30am

Player Watch:
Sergio Garcia – “I just feel very comfortable here. I had come close to winning a few times, so it was nice to get over the line last year. So I have some good memories, and hopefully they can inspire me to have another successful Qatar Masters. ”

Justin Rose – “I finished last season playing really well and I want to build on that in Doha. I enjoyed myself at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters a couple of years ago and felt increasingly comfortable on the course and want to really have another go at it this time.”

Mikko Ilonen – “I feel quite good going into this week, as last year in Abu Dhabi I missed the cut, and this year I made it. This time last year I was struggling with a problem in my left leg, and I couldn’t really get through the ball. So the course will probably play a little shorter than it did for me last year, when I was only hitting it at about 90 per cent.”

Key hole: 18th. It may be 589 yards, but it offers up a surprising number of eagle putts. So it’s not over til it’s over.