Posted on January 25, 2017

Leading officials involved in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters gathered on Tuesday to honour the historic 20th edition of the long-standing European Tour event.

Now broadcast to an audience of 400 million and attracting 25,000 spectators each year, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has developed beyond recognition since its inauguration in 1998, when it helped form a two-leg Desert Swing on the European Tour. It now sits at the heart of a three-stop stretch, flanked by events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Major winners Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Retief Goosen and Paul Lawrie, and Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia and Thomas Bjørnare among the stars to have lifted the historic Mother of Pearl Trophy at Doha Golf Club, the tournament’s sole host venue.

Els won on his tournament debut in 2005 and a year later Commercial Bank began its title sponsorship of an event that has grown to become one of the most popular on the European Tour. Joseph Abraham, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank, said: “This year marks Commercial Bank’s 12th year as title sponsor and we are proud to be a longstanding supporter of this outstanding tournament. It has become a big community event for Qatar.

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“The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is one of the most important events in Qatar's sporting calendar and, most importantly, part of the national vision of Qatar to become an educational sports and cultural centre for the Gulf region. “Now in its landmark 20th edition, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has become much more than an international golfing tournament to everyone involved and most importantly to the thousands of spectators we welcome to Doha Golf Club each year. We are extremely proud of the growth that this tournament has experienced over its two decades, and we have our fellow partners to thank for their support. “The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters would not be what it is without the support of the Qatar Golf Association, Qatar Olympic Association and Doha Golf Club, which as always will provide a magnificent facility this week.”

Abraham was joined at a busy press conference by Qatar Golf Association officials Fahad Nasser Al Naimi (General Secretary) and Mohammed Faisal Al Naimi (Executive Director), and two more officials who were involved in the first Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in 1998. Gary McGlinchey, Tournament Manager, Doha Golf Club, was the club’s head pro in 1998 when he competed on an invitation, while Nick Tarratt, Director of International Office, Dubai, European Tour, was then General Manager of the UAE Golf Association and helped support ‘behind the ropes’. “I was involved in running the Dubai Desert Classic and the ‘Desert Swing’ then went from one to two events in 1998 with the Qatar Masters.However, it was a very different Qatar Masters and a very different Doha in those days,” said Tarratt, who has been working in the region for over 27 years and with the European Tour for eight years. “In 2006, it became a three-event ‘Desert Swing’ with Abu Dhabi, and Qatar now fits nicely in the middle of the series. The Qatar Masters has always stood out for its quality field, quality golf course, quality facilities, good weather and Qatari hospitality. The players are always well looked after.”

McGlinchey added: “I also think the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters is really a great opportunity for junior golfers to get close and see the best golfers in the world in action, and understand they can become professionals as a career path.Clarke Lutton was the Doha Golf Club junior champion and club champion, and now he's playing in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, so having the Qatar Masters gives children a career path. We have three Qatari golfers playing this week. In 1998, these guys were young kids and now they’re all going to play here this week.

“I think that's the beauty of having the Qatar Masters here in Doha, because people can get so close to the players. I know we have 25,000 people here all week watching it, but in the same kind of event in the US or in Europe, you can’t get close to the players because there's 100,000 people there. It's pretty unique in that respect and I think great for the community.”

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Els, Lawrie and fellow Major winners Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell are among the players who have returned to Qatar to compete in this week’s landmark showdown, which tees off on Thursday.Ryder Cup rookies Rafa Cabrera Bello, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, red-hot Bernd Wiesberger and 2016 European Tour Rookie of the Year Wang Jeunghun also feature in a strong field. First held in 1998, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters has helped establish Qatar as a world-class sporting venue and is considered the country’s annual ‘must-attend’ sporting and social event. Sitting at the heart of The European Tour’s Middle East swing, the tournament attracted over 25,000 spectators in 2016 and was broadcast to a global TV audience of over 400 million.

Tickets for the 20thCommercial Bank Qatar Masters are now available for purchase at Virgin Megastores (online and in-store in Doha), Doha Golf Club, St Regis Hotel Doha, Intercontinental Hotel Doha, Radisson Blu Hotel Doha, Fnac Lagoona Mall and online on the following websites: q-tickets.com, 800tickets.com and iloveqatar.net. Tickets are priced as follows, starting at QAR150:

Tournament day

Ticket type

Ticket price

Thursday 26 January

General admission ticket

QAR 150

Friday 27 January

General admission ticket

QAR 200

Saturday 28 January

General admission ticket

QAR 200

Sunday 29 January

General admission ticket

QAR 200

Season Pass Thursday to Sunday

Includes general admission on all four days

QAR 450

Entry is free for children under 14 years of age. For those looking for an extra-special experience with the best views of the course and an exclusive culinary experience hospitality packages are now available to purchase through the tournament’s official website qatar-masters.com/hospitality.

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