GRAEME McDowell is still finalising his 2012 schedule, but the Ryder Cup star has confirmed that he will play at next month’s Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy from February 2-5.
The World number 13 will return to Doha Golf Club for his sixth appearance in the $2.5 million event, a tournament he has enjoyed top-20 finishes in on each of his last three visits.
“The support I receive has been great and, as always, it is much appreciated,” said McDowell.
“I didn’t give the supporters a whole lot to shout about in 2011 but hopefully I’ll get back to my winning ways in 2012 - I’m really excited about this year and will start my new season on the European Tour in the Middle East.
“Last year was tough, no doubt about it. I learned a lot of things about myself like how to deal with being a Major Champion and how to deal with being one of the top players in the world. But the last three or four months have been great and there have been a lot of positives.”
“Graeme is now widely recognised as one of the greatest players in the world so we are delighted he is back to join us after missing out in 2011,” said Commercialbank Group CEO Andrew Stevens.
Organised by the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsor The Commercial Bank of Qatar, this year’s Commercialbank Qatar Masters will see McDowell line up alongside several of the men he played with when he helped Europe defeat the USA in the 2010 Ryder Cup.
And with the biennial event set to be staged again in the US in eight months time, the Ulsterman will hope to be one of European golf’s 12 players for the greatest team event in golf.
“Graeme wrote his name into golfing history with a pressure putt that won Europe the Ryder Cup in 2010,” said QGA President Hassan Al Nuaimi.
“I’m sure golf fans in Qatar who missed out on seeing him 12 months ago will be out in force to give him their full support in what will be yet another big year.”
Meanwhile Steve Stricker’s victory in the opening PGA Tour event of the season has lifted him back to fifth in the world and makes him the leading non-European in the list again.
Latest leading positions: 1 Luke Donald 10.21, 2 Lee Westwood 7.92, 3 Rory McIlroy 7.65, 4 Martin Kaymer 6.43, 5 Steve Stricker 6.00, 6 Adam Scott 5.41, 7 Webb Simpson 5.40, 8 Dustin Johnson 5.17, 9 Charl Schwartzel 5.16, 10 Jason Day 4.99 11 Matt Kuchar 4.79, 12 Graeme McDowell 4.63, 13 Nick Watney 4.60, 14 KJ Choi 4.55, 15 Phil Mickelson 4.37, 16 Justin Rose 3.92, 17 Hunter Mahan 3.83, 18 Sergio Garcia 3.83, 19 Ian Poulter 3.81, 20 Paul Casey 3.65.