Tuesday, 09 March 2004
Defending champion, Darren Fichardt of South Africa, and four other previous winners, will line-up in the seventh edition of the Qatar Masters at the spectacular Doha Golf Club along with three Major Champions and no fewer than 18 European Ryder Cup players.

Fichardt beat compatriot, James Kingston, at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off 12 months ago to join the Scots pair of Andrew Coltart (1998) and Paul Lawrie (1999), Rolf Muntz of The Netherlands (2000), Tony Johnstone of Zimbabwe (2001) and Adam Scott of Australia (2002) as the fortunate few who have held aloft the glittering Mother of Pearl gold trophy and would love to do so again.

Lawrie, who captured the Qatar Masters prior to winning the Open Golf Championship at Carnoustie five years ago, is joined in the field by two other Major Champions in Scotland's Sandy Lyle and Welshman Ian Woosnam, who ran Muntz a close second in the millennium edition of the event.

The high class field is bolstered by the 18Ryder Cup men, past and present, while three winners on The 2004 European Tour International Schedule will be contesting the €1,205,693 tournament, namely England's Brian Davis (ANZ Championship), Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (Carlsberg Malaysian Open) and Miguel Angel Jiménez of Spain (Johnnie Walker Classic).

Also teeing up are the last three Volvo PGA champions, Andrew Oldcorn of Scotland, Denmark's Anders Hansen and the current title holder, Ignacio Garrido of Spain, who beat South African Trevor Immelman in a play-off at Wentworth Club to land the biggest prize of his career to date.

The stunning Doha Golf Club has become a magnet for many leading players over the past six years, and this year includes all but one of the previous winners. All have had one thing in common - the ability to tame the famous swirling Shamal wind which frequently sweeps across Doha's rugged terrain and makes a tough test even more strenuous.

Doha Golf Club is a green oasis in the middle of the desert- complete with 10,000 different types of plants, shrubs and trees, eight artificial lakes and the outstanding championship course located in the West Bay Lagoons near the capital of Qatar.

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