Seve Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam head a strong field for the third Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club, Qatar, this week. The two major champions are joined for the second leg of the Middle East 'double header' by 1998 champion Andrew Coltart and six winners from the 2000 season in Anthony Wall, Mathias Grönberg, Lucas Parsons, Wei-Tze Yeh, Gary Orr and José Coceres.
Coltart won the inaugural tournament in Qatar with an 18 under par total of 270, which was surpassed last year by Paul Lawrie, who shot rounds of 68, 65, 67 and 68 for a 20 under par total of 268.
It was an important moment in the life of Lawrie, who derived such confidence from that victory at Qatar that he went on to win the Open Championship at Carnoustie five months later.
Also in the field are the players who finished runner-up to Lawrie. Dane Søren Kjeldsen, who had waited until the final event of 1998 to retain his card, finished tied second with Phillip Price and in one week was able to retain his playing privileges for the 2000 season.
The Doha Golf Club is a private club owned by the State of Qatar. The multi-million Royal facility was constructed to the highest specifications and makes use of the unique topographic natural features.
The course underwent a major overseeding programme in 1999 in the rough with rye grass which, combined with a policy of no buggies since the beginning of
January that year, produced a stunning improvement in definition and presentation of the golf course.
A sandy hazard surrounding the wonderful par three third hole and to the right of the fourth hole was flooded to create a stunning water feature which adds a much greater challenge to both these holes.