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John Daly to play Qatar Masters
January 28, 2011

Two-time Major winner John Daly will make an exclusive Middle East appearance in a powerful field for the 2011 Commercialbank Qatar Masters, presented by Dolphin Energy at Doha Golf Club.

Daly, winner of the 1991 USPGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship, joins a world-class line-up for the 14 th staging of Doha 's annual European Tour date as the Desert Swing reaches Qatar .

The controversial American - as colourful as he is supremely talented - is always a favourite with the galleries and his big-hitting style may well be suited to the 7,388-yard desert course at Doha Golf Club.

He joins the world's top two ranked players Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, World Number Five Steve Stricker and World Number Ten Ian Poulter in one of the strongest fields in the event's history.

Speaking at a pre-event press conference, Commercialbank Group CEO Andrew Stevens added that Daly would also be joined by Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros - the 2009 champion - in the 132-man field.

"We are all delighted that John Daly has chosen Doha for an exclusive playing appearance on the famed Desert Swing," he said. "But while John may be a new name for Doha , we know how much fans here also like to see some of the colourful characters who have lit up the tournament in the past and in Spanish duo Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros we have two of the best.

 "Sergio remains one of the most popular and successful players in the game, while our 2009 champion Alvaro returned to finish as runner-up here in 2010 and will be one of the favourites to make it a Doha double."

Like Daly, World Number Five Stricker will make his first appearance in Qatar . The American very rarely leaves his home Tour and it is a major boost to the event to have him agree to make the journey to compete in the Commercialbank Qatar Masters.

Organised by the Qatar Golf Association (QGA) in collaboration with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsors Commercialbank, the tournament will feature 132 players competing for a share of $2.5 million in prize money as well as the coveted Mother of Pearl Trophy.

"Our partnership with the QOC and Commercialbank is as strong as ever and allows us to put together a field as good as any tournament staged outside of the Middle East ," said QGA President Hassan Al Nuaimi.

"Westwood, Kamyer, Stricker and Poulter are household names - add in the likes of our defending champion Robert Karlsson and players such as Daly, Garcia and Quiros and you have a particularly strong line-up.

While event officials admit they are pleased with the quality of the field - with even more big names still to be announced - they are also delighted with the reaction of the Qatar business community and public. Hospitality packages have sold out well in advance of the opening round, while several well-known brands have joined the family of event sponsors for the first time.

"Because our hospitality packages have sold out well in advance, we have erected a new hospitality facility overlooking the 9 th green, while our existing chalets and hospitality suites have all been upgraded as we continue our commitment to maintain our position as hosts of one of the best tournaments in the world," added Stevens.

"In addition, DHL Express, Prosports and Maersk Oil have come on board as sponsors for the first time, while Qatar Duty Free will be our Pro-Am sponsor."

For Dolphin Energy, it is the fourth consecutive year as presenting sponsor of the tournament and Adel Albuainain, General Manager Qatar, said the company was delighted to again be part of the sponsorship family. "With a world class field of golfers, I am confident we can make a worthy contribution and support our belief that it is important to maintain a strong link between sport and the communities in which we operate," he added.

The 2011 Commercialbank Qatar Masters, Presented by Dolphin Energy, will get underway with the Pro-Am on February 2 before the field takes to the course for the tournament itself from February 3-6 with entrance once again free of charge to the public.

A brand new on-course radio service will also be launched allowing spectators the opportunity to keep up to date with live commentary, scores, updates and news as they walk the fairways over the four days. Complimentary headsets will be provided, while star names will give their thoughts on the event and give tips on how to play the course.

"As always, we have worked hard to make sure the players encounter a golf course in immaculate condition," said Tournament Manager and Doha Golf Club General Manager Chris Myers. "We started preparations in October and were blessed with rain, which helped get it into the condition it is in today. There are no changes in length - it's tough enough and long enough as it is - and I think in terms of difficulty it will be similar to 2010."

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