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Top names commit to record Qatar Masters

Former winner Ernie Els, world number eight Retief Goosen and 11th-ranked Sergio Garcia will compete for a record prize fund of $2.2 million at this month's Qatar Masters in Doha.

Britain's Darren Clarke, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood, Chris DiMarco of the U.S. and Swedish title holder Henrik Stenson have also confirmed their entries for the January 25-28 event co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

"I strongly believe, with the caliber of players we have lined up, this year's Qatar Masters has the strongest in-depth field of all the events being staged in the region," tournament manager Chris Myers told the European's Tour official Web site (www.europeantour.com).

Officials said the 10th anniversary would bear no resemblance to past editions, with improved hospitality facilities and activities.

Unlike other tour events in the region, entrance is free of charge to the public.

"The Qatari Government is striving to cement the country's position as the sporting center of the Middle East," said a spokesman for the tournament sponsors.

"The 2006 Asian Games, the recent Qatar Tennis Open and March's Moto GP are just three examples of that ambition."

The Qatar Masters champion will pick up a first prize of $366,660.



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