Lowdown:
The European Tour remains in The Gulf this week for leg three of its “Middle Eastern Swing”. Robert Karlsson defends the title in the Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy at the Doha Golf Club.
A fantastic field has assembled for this tournament including four players in the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking. They are Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey and Steve Stricker.
The battle for Number 1 on the ranking will resume this week as Martin Kaymer could overtake Lee Westwood at the top of the pile if results go his way. The German will move to Number 1 if he wins and Westwood finishes outside the top-two, or if he is second with Westwood ending the week outside the top-22.
The start sheet features a number of exciting names including John Daly, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia.
Like many of the courses in this part of the world, the layout at Doha GC is a Peter Harradine design. Opened for play in 1994, water comes into play on six holes and natural outcrops of rock are also a feature.
This will be the 14th running of the Qatar Masters, first won by Andrew Coltart back in 1998.
In last year’s event Robert Karlsson signalled his comeback to the European Tour after an eye injury by completing a resounding three shot victory over Alvaro Quiros.

Venue: Doha Golf Club, Qatar
Date: Feb 3-6
Course stats: par 72, 7,388 yards
Purse: $2,500,000
Defending Champion: Robert Karlsson (-15)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 3 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am
Friday 4 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7am
Saturday 5 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 9.30am
Sunday 6 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8.30am

Player Watch:
Martin Kaymer – The German showed imperious form on his last outing in Abu Dhabi. If he can reproduce it here he will be extremely difficult to beat in this tournament.

Robert Karlsson – The defending champion played some excellent golf last week in Bahrain. It’s clearly a course he enjoys so look for him to produce a good performance this week.

Alvaro Quiros – The big hitting Spaniard won here in 2009 and was runner-up last year. He was eighth last week in Bahrain.

Key hole: 16th. At just 306 yards it’s eminently driveable for most players in the field. But, it’s a small and awkward target with a large rock guarding the front of the green. Expect to see some unpredictable bounces off that outcrop as players go for the carry and fall just short.

Skills required: Staying error-free. This is a tournament that witnesses low scoring and plenty of birdies. The winner will make few mistakes over the four days – staying out of the water is key.

Where Next?

PGA Tour – Waste Management Phoenix Open