Peter Hanson is the fifth player from Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team to confirm his participation in next week’s US$2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which will be held at Doha Golf Club from January 23-26.
The big Swede will also be among five multiple winners on last year’s European Tour to compete in Qatar, including Branden Grace of South Africa, who lifted four trophies on his way to finishing sixth in The Race to Dubai.
Hanson, 35, finished fourth in The Race to Dubai with over €3 million in prize money after his best-ever season, as wins in September’s KLM Open in The Netherlands and October’s BMW Masters in China helped him break into the world’s top 20.
The six-time European Tour winner will join Justin Rose of England and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa – second and third respectively in last year’s Race To Dubai – in a star-studded field in Doha, where Hanson was joint runner-up to Paul Lawrie of Scotland last February.
“I’ve been competing at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters for a long time and I always enjoy it. Last year was my best performance in Doha and was the start of a fantastic season for me, which included my second Ryder Cup appearance,” said Hanson, who will join European teammates Rose, Lawrie, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer in Qatar.
“I’ve been playing the best golf of my life over the past year, but I’ve never won in Doha and it’s a course I know I can play well on. This will be my 12th time competing at the event and it’s nice to come back here after such a great season, especially after the Ryder Cup win. Paul Lawrie played really well to win in Qatar last year and I think there will again be strong competition for the trophy.”
Hanson recorded seven top-five finishes on The 2012 European Tour, including a tie for third behind Bubba Watson and Oosthuizen in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, his best finish in a Major. In August, he tied for seventh in the US PGA Championship in August, matching his placing in the 2011 US Open.
Oosthuizen, Lawrie and Bernd Wiesberger of Austria also won twice on last year’s European Tour and will compete in Qatar.
However, it was Grace who topped the list of European Tour wins in 2012 with four, claiming the Joburg Open and Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa in January, the Volvo China Open in April and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland in October.
The Pretoria-born 24-year-old is one of golf’s most exciting young players and is looking to building on his breakthrough season as he competes in Doha for only the second time.
“I had a phenomenal year in 2012. To win four times on The European Tour in one season was beyond any of my expectations and now it’s important for me to continue to play well in 2013,” said Grace, who tied for seventh in last week’s Volvo Golf Champions.
“I played well in South Africa in the first European Tour event of the year so I want to keep that form going and give myself a chance of winning in Doha.”
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, was delighted that Hanson and Grace were both returning to tackle the Doha Golf Club’s 7,374-yard Championship Course.
“With Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen and now Peter Hanson, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters will feature three of the top four in the 2012 Race To Dubai along with Branden Grace, who finished sixth. We’re also proud to have five of the six multiple winners on last year’s European Tour, so we are set for another top-quality tournament,” Al Nuaimi said.
“Fans will have many stars to watch including five players from Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup and winning Captain José Maria Olazábal, who is among a host of Major winners including Open Champion Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Retief Goosen. We will welcome Jason Dufner for the first time after he won twice on last year’s US PGA Tour, so Paul Lawrie will face a lot of competition to hold on to his title.”
Andrew Stevens, Group Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank of Qatar, believes the quality of players for this year’s tournament confirmed its reputation as one of The European Tour’s premium events.
“The 16th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters could prove to be most exciting edition so far. We have some true legends of the game, current top-10 players and many of the game’s rising stars,” Stevens said.
“We’ve had some outstanding champions in the past and with so many world-class players competing this year, we’re expecting another tremendous tournament for the fans.”
Defending champion Paul Lawrie (1999, 2012) and Adam Scott (2002, 2008) are the only two-time winners of the of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, while other winners include
Ernie Els (2005) and Retief Goosen (2007).