Qatar Masters
Qatar Masters
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February 17-20, 1999

Defending Champion:
Andrew Coltart
UKP 468,000
Host course:
Doha Golf Club
Doha, Qatar


Coltart returns to Qatar

It's too easy says suspicious James

Quintet using Qatar as final tuneup

DOHA, -- Five players who will compete in the World Match Play Championship next week are in the field for the second Qatar Masters.

The tournament begins Wednesday -- a day early -- to give the quintet, last year's Qatar joint runner-up Patrik Sjöland, Ian Woosnam, Thomas Bjørn, Miguel-Angel Jimenez and Eduardo Romero, time to practice and get acclimated in California.

Sjoland, Sweden's latest great young prospect, who finished fifth in Europe last year, hopes to go one better in Doha this year to give himself a boost before of the Andersen Consulting World Match Play Championship.

Last year, Sjoland, 27, predicted that at least three Swedes would make Europe's Ryder Cup team and that he would be one of them.

He currently lies 12th in the Ryder Cup standings and is eyeing a $166,660 first prize this week to move up the list.

But the young Swede knows that the really major Ryder Cup points hauls will come with next week's big-money World Championship.

"I have my sights definitely set on the Ryder Cup," said Sjoland. "I'm playing solid enough to be in the team and these two weeks are big weeks for me in achieving my ambition.

"According to my reckoning, I should play Jim Furyk in the World Match Play Championship. I think that's a pretty good draw because I don't think he's played so good this year and I hope it's a good time to get him.

"I'll not be thinking about that until I've done a job here in Qatar this week, though."

The player who finished above Sjoland and Britain's Andrew Sherborne in Qatar last year was Scot Andrew Coltart.

Coltart had an outside chance to make the World Championship field with a good week in Dubai. He failed when his putter went cold at the weekend.

He also lost his chance to make one of the three alternates for the Championship. Another Swede, Per-Ulrik Johansson, will play in Doha, and still has an outside chance of being called up for the World Championship.

The top 64 in the World Rankings qualify for World match Play Championship in California next week. Nick Faldo, currently 65th, slid into the field because Japan's Jumbo Ozaki decided not to play. That means Faldo will face World No. 1 Tiger Woods in an opening-round match.

Johansson, in 68th place, would then get the third and last alternate spot behind New Zealand's Greg Turner and American David Toms.

Faldo, who missed the cut in last week's Dubai Desert Classic, has opted not to play in the Qatar Masters.