Golf

Stage set for Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

The Education City Golf Club (ECGC) made a successful European Tour debut last year when Spain’s Jorge Campillo edged Scotland’s David Drysdale in a dramatic play-off to win the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. 

Despite strict COVID-19 protocols this year, the state-of-the-art golf course is set for another exciting battle for The Mother of Pearl Trophy in presence of a competitive field. 

The tournament tees off tomorrow with a total of 144 golfers ready to battle in the $1.5m event, offering $250,000 to the winner. 

Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, a four-time European Tour winner is leading the field that also includes Thomas Detry, Rasmus Hojgaard, Andy Sullivan, Wade Orsmby, Brandon Stone and Aaron Rai. 

With Campillo also ready to defend his title, four golfers will be seeking their second trophy in Doha, including former champions Justin Harding (2019), Chris Wood (2013) and Alvaro Quiros (2009). 

Qatar Open Amateur Championship winner Ali Al Shahrani, Jaham Jassim, Saleh Al Kaabi will represent the home country.    

During a pre-event press conference at ECGC yesterday, Hassan Nasser Al Naimi, President Qatar Golf Association (QGA), said strict precautionary measures to combat the spread of coronavirus are taken to ensure safety of golfers and all stakeholders. 

“We are ready to stage another successful edition of the tournament with participation of top golfers,” Al Naimi told reporters yesterday. 

“With 500 to 600 persons coming to country, we have taken precautionary measures to ensure safety and health of all participants. The COVID-19 protocols are in place with golfers to remain in bio-secure bubble throughout the event. MoPH has approved 2

Mike Eriksson, Tournament Director, European Tour; Hussein Al Abdulla, EGM Chief Marketing Officer, Commercial Bank; Fahad Nasser Al Naimi, General Secretary, QGA; and Michael Braidwood, General Manager Education City Golf Club also attended the press conference. 

Eriksson said with the safety measures in place, the next four days will produce exciting action at the outstanding golf course.       

“It’s really different from the normal times and we are really thankful to Qatar Golf Association for what they have done to be able to play here this year. Thanks also to Commercial Bank and Education City Golf Club. We are very very proud to be here and be a part of the Qatar Masters. It is indeed difficult for the players and everybody has to take a couple of steps and ensure that they stay within the ‘bubble’. But with the support of everybody in this country, it has been easy in a way and we thank everybody. It might look easy from the outside but we are actually 144 players and 144 caddies, staff, television people etc. So it is like 500 people so the bubble gets quite big so there has be to be restrictions in place,” he added.

“Let’s not forget we have a great golf course out there that has been in immaculate condition. It is in outstanding condition. We are looking forward to the golfers to play in the event to be broadcast to over 500 million households this week. Hopefully, it’ll go smooth and everybody will be happy,” he said.     

Commercial Bank’s Al Abdulla took pride to be a part of the prestigious tournament for many years.  

“We have been the title sponsors of the tournament for many years. We have been hosting this for many years now. The direction of the leadership of the QGA has been tremendous. We try our best to support and compliment the QGA in its pursuit to educate and promote golf to our locals and specially our Qatari golfers,” he said.  

“The other side is that Qatar Masters has become a major event as last year over 400 million people watched the event on TV from around the world. Top-notch players are coming in Qatar to play in this prestigious event. We look forward to support this amazing tournament as it also serves Qatar’s 2030 vision,” Al Abdulla added.     

Braidwood said golf has seen tremendous growth over the years in Qatar and ECGC is playing a vital role in it. 

“I’m really glad with the development and growth of the sport here in Qatar. Last year we had a number of acquisitions during the event for schoolchildren, initiatives to draw youngsters to the golf course. We’ve seen families coming to the golf course at the club, a lot of kids are coming. When we opened ECGC we were keen to draw more people to golf and had the right partner and now with support of Commercial Bank that has happened.”

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