Luke Donald (Getty Images)
Former World Number One Luke Donald hopes to gain further confidence from the changes made to his game over the winter at this week’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.
The Englishman finished 37th in Abu Dhabi on his first start of the calendar year last week, and feels he is closing in on the form that took him to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 36 year old said: “2008 was my last time here, so it's been a while. The course is very much the same so I’m glad to be back.
“The course is in good shape, it's a good layout, so this is a good test.
“I’m still working on the game hard. Last week has always been a tricky week for me - I think the course demands a lot tee to green, and I didn't hit enough fairways, especially the last three rounds.
“I’m just working through some of the changes that I'm working on, and I feel like every week I'm improving and getting better. It's nice to play another week this week and see where my game is under tournament conditions.”
Donald has not won on The European Tour since successfully defending his BMW PGA Championship title in 2012, but did pick up a confidence-building victory in Japan at the end of last year.
“I think going back and defending was a confidence boost and just made me feel like some of the changes I was implementing in my swing were the correct ones,” he added. “We just gave me a lot of confidence on a very narrow, tight course that the Dunlop Phoenix is played on; that I could hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens and control my ball.
“I've always had good feelings about that place, and it was nice to go there and pick up a win.”
Another player eager to get 2014 off to a good start is Donald’s Ryder Cup partner Sergio Garcia.
The Spaniard was 19th in Abu Dhabi, despite needing some mid-round treatment on a shoulder injury.
And last year’s runner-up is confident he has the tools to succeed on perhaps the most difficult course of the Desert Swing.
“I think it plays nice and tough throughout the years,” said Garcia. “It's a nice way to start the year - hopefully we can have another good week here and see if we can win. It would be great but if not at least have a nice, solid week.
“The shoulder got better as the week went on, so we'll just have to keep working on it and make sure that everything is good. I was able to get a little bit of momentum from Friday onwards last week, so hopefully I can do more of the same here.”