World Number Six Steve Stricker has signed up for the 2011 Commercialbank Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy.
The appearance will be the American’s first in the Middle East and once again underlines the global appeal of Qatar’s annual date on The European Tour calendar.
To be staged at Doha Golf Club from February 3-6, the $2.5 million tournament will see Stricker get his first taste of a course that provides a particularly stiff test on the now four-week stretch of the Desert Swing.
The 43 year old from Wisconsin, who has spent almost three years in the world’s top ten, will be aiming to become the first American winner of the Mother of Pearl trophy but will face the might of The European Tour, featuring members of the 2010 European Ryder Cup team he faced at The Celtic Manor Resort including Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter.
“Over the years, we have been honoured that so many US household golfing names have made the effort to tackle the unique challenge of Doha Golf Club,” said Hassan Al Nuami, President of the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), event organisers in conjunction with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Commercialbank.
“None of them has been able to finish the four days at the top of the leaderboard so there is a real incentive for Steve to do well here in February.”
Stricker has won nine times on the US PGA Tour with his most recent win coming in July 2010 at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois where he shot a career-low 60 in the first round. He followed that with rounds of 66 and 62 for a PGA Tour 54-hole record of 188.
Five months earlier, in February 2010, the American won the Northern Trust Open after firing a final round 70, which was enough for a 16-under-par 268 total and a two-shot win over Luke Donald, as he deposed Phil Mickelson to become World Number Two.
Stricker, who finished the 2010 US PGA Tour season fifth on the money list with more than $4.1 million in earnings and second with a 69.66 scoring average, opened his 2011 US PGA Tour season with consecutive top ten finishes in Hawaii.
“From the US PGA Tour, players like Boo Weekley, Todd Hamilton and Kenny Perry have all played in the tournament and I am pleased to say they enjoyed the hospitality as well as the playing conditions,” said Commercialbank Group CEO Andrew Stevens. “Thanks to the magnificent success of the FIFA World Cup bid for 2022, Qatar is being talked about all over the world. Having players such as Steve Stricker join us in 2011 can only help boost that global recognition.”