Chris Wood (Getty Images)
The 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters organisers have confirmed that towering Englishman Chris Wood will return to defend his title at the 17th edition of the tournament, which will be held at Doha Golf Club from January 22-25, 2014.
The six-foot five-inch Wood produced a spectacular finish to claim his first European Tour title last January, sinking a pressure-packed, 12-foot eagle putt on the 18th to beat Spanish legend Sergio Garcia and South African George Coetzee by one stroke.
Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association, said: “We are delighted to confirm that Chris Wood will be back to defend his title at the 17th Commercial Bank Qatar Masters at Doha Golf Club.
“Chris was a very popular winner last year and we all know how much he wanted his well-deserved first European Tour victory. Furthermore, he earned it in the most dramatic way, with an eagle on the final hole, which gave us one of the most exciting finishes in the tournament since it began in 1998. We will soon be confirming more star players who will all aim to challenge Chris for the Mother of Pearl Trophy next month.”
Wood, who led by three after the third round, claimed victory in Doha with an 18 under par total of 270. After sinking the winning putt, the usually mild-mannered Englishman punched the air in delight after ending years of frustration following 19 top-tens on The European Tour, including three runner-up finishes since 2011.
“Four years of frustration of not winning and it all came out a bit after the putt,” said Wood, who had won his first professional title at the Thailand Open in August 2012.
Wood, now 26, then admitted 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods had inspired him on the final hole, hitting his six iron from 200 yards to within ten feet of the flag.
“It was such a good yardage for me and my caddie told me to go straight at it. That told me I needed an eagle to win,” Wood said after the victory.
“I remember watching Tiger hit a shot at a tournament a few years ago on 18, an eight iron to six feet, and that was for his first win in a couple of years after he struggled. I watched quite a bit of that, and although he didn't play his best, his attitude was, I'm going to win this tournament whatever happens. I had that in the back of my mind.”
Wood’s victory in Doha earned him a place in the world’s top 60 and his confidence grew further by competing in all four World Golf Championships events in 2013 – the Accenture Match Play Championship, Cadillac Championship and Bridgestone Invitational in the USA, finishing seventh in the latter, and the HSBC Champions in China.
Currently ranked74th in the Official World Golf Ranking, the Bristol-born golfer also reached the quarter-finals of the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria, finished joint-seventh at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland and represented England at the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Australia.
Wood announced himself on the international stage back in July 2008 when the then-20 year old amateur finished fifth in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, with his father as his caddie.
Turning pro soon after being awarded the silver medal as low amateur, Wood gained his card for The European Tour and the inaugural Race to Dubai in 2009 through qualifying school and went on to again thrive in The Open, sharing third place with Lee Westwood at Turnberry.
The 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters runs from Wednesday January 22 to Saturday January 25. Evening entertainment will begin from 6pm on Thursday and Friday. Both single-day (Thursday/Friday) and season tickets include entry to the concerts, which include American performers Divas of Soul on Thursday and Scottish band Texas headlining on Friday.
Season tickets provide exceptional value, offering access to all four days of golf action, the public village and all evening entertainment for just QAR325, costing more than 40% less than four single-day tickets.
Single-day and season tickets for the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters are available to purchase online here
and in-store from Virgin Megastore shops in Villagio Mall and Landmark Mall, Doha, as well as Doha Golf Club