Sergio Garcia will make his first appearance of the 2016 season at this week’s 19th edition of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, where Branden Grace will be aiming to become the first player to retain the Mother of Pearl trophy.
Spaniard Garcia has not won on the European Tour since claiming the title at Doha Golf Club in dramatic fashion two years ago, beating Mikko Ilonen at the third play-off hole courtesy of a third successive birdie.
He will be hoping to put that right this week on a course where he has claimed a runner-up finish and four more top tens in addition to his triumph in 2014.
To do so, the 11-time European Tour winner will have to overcome a strong field which includes 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and four-time Open Champion Ernie Els, who would move clear of Henrik Stenson as the player with the most European Tour victories in the Middle East.
Their compatriot Grace arrives for the defence of his title in stupendous form, adding a fifth consecutive top ten finish courtesy of a tied fifth finish at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The 27 year old last year sealed his second title of the 2015 season courtesy of a birdie at the final hole to finish one shot ahead of Scotsman Marc Warren, who will also play this week.
Warren’s compatriot and former Open Champion Paul Lawrie arrives hoping to become the first player to win the title three times – following his victories in 1999 and 2012.
Promising young American amateur Bryson DeChambeau will make his second appearance of the season on the European Tour, having made a big impression at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The 22 year old, who plays with irons which are all the same length, shocked the field at Abu Dhabi Golf Club when he took the first round lead courtesy of an eight under par 64, before finishing in a share of 54th.