Qatar Masters – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Doha GC in Doha, Qatar
Used since 1998

7400 yards – Par 72 – Bermuda Greens overseeded with Poa Trivialis
Fairways and Rough: Bermuda overseeded with ryegrass
Architect: Peter Harradine (1996)
Water Hazards: 6

Important Interview Quotes

JEUNGHUN WANG: I’m so happy to be back in Qatar. I love playing this course so I’m very excited to get back out there and I think my game is ready to go too. I like windy courses and I like this course too. I also have good memories so I love playing here and it should be fun. -2018

CHRIS WOOD: I think the greens are key around here. They always putt well but the grain is very strong on them. It might take a few guys a day or two to get their eye in with the greens but I’ve been coming here for seven or eight or nine years so I’ve got an idea of how the greens work and where the grain is, what to allow for the grain and getting used to it pretty quickly, so I’d say that will be an important factor for me this week -2018

PAUL LAWRIE: It’s always nice to come back to a place where you’ve done well before. I’ve been lucky enough to win here twice so whenever you drive up you get nice feelings because you think back to the times that you’ve played well and the times that you’ve won.

I’ve had some nice weeks here. It blows quite a bit round here and I’ve always been pretty comfortable at knocking the ball down and taking a bit of speed off my swing. My swing is a little slower than some guys so knock-down shots and punch shots, I cope with those quite well.

You’ve got to be in control of your ball-flight round here. As soon as you get it up in the air at all it affects the ball a lot. You hit a lot of knock-down shots, you hit a lot of four and five irons that are 150, 160 yards, which is normally a nine or an eight iron so you’ve got to be in control of the flight of your ball. You’ve got to keep it down.

Downwind you’ve got to hit it up and use the wind and ride the wind a lot which is just links golf, which is how I was playing growing up so I absolutely love it here. It’s one of my favourite golf courses to play all year. -2018

AARON RAI: I drove it well and then gave myself a lot of opportunities with the approach play, didn’t miss too many greens. It can get very tricky around the greens here with the Bermuda grass being very hard to predict. -2018

SEAN CROCKER: I’m excited for tomorrow. It’ll be my first final grouping and I’ll be excited to get out there with a decent-sized crowd and get going and play with these guys. I’ll just play with what I’ve got and if it gets the job done, great. If not, it’s always fun just playing golf anyways -2018

Q. How much do you like this golf course?
Yeah, played it enough over the years, and this year, greens are I think probably slightly less grainy than normal. Felt as though I really got my eye in today, apart from my last two putts. But apart from that, putted really good. -2017

Q. Do you think you’re a better low-score player or a better tough-course player?
I’d like to say that I’m pretty good in the wind. Obviously growing up, playing a lot of links courses, amateur days, sort of get used to those sort of things. -2017

Q. Still, your first time at this course. You don’t seem surprised but to play so well in your first tournament here.
I think I like this course. I like the wind. I like the green conditions. It’s pretty nice for me. Nice to play this course. -2017

Q. Any similarities here to when you won in Morocco and Mauritius? Obviously winning in Mauritius, but any other similarities to those courses?
I think the wind is similar. But the course design is quite different. I love to play this course. So I’m excited to play it tomorrow. -2017

Q: You do have a really good record here at this golf club. What’s the reason for that, do you think?
Just I guess I feel quite comfortable on the golf course. It kind of caught my eye the first time I played it and I played it pretty much every year since. So I obviously like what I see out there, and when you can play on one of those courses that you feel comfortable, usually you seem to do fairly well. -2016

Q. And you’ve been runner-up here before; your thoughts on the course? Suits your game?
Yeah, I like the golf course. I like playing in windy conditions. This was a stretch that I always start my season with when I was fully playing on The European Tour, with Qatar and Dubai. So I always love coming back here. It’s a golf course that I like. Yeah, I’m looking forward to the week to get it started. -2016

Q. Are you excited about being here in Qatar and playing this standard of golf?
Absolutely. The golf course is fantastic and I love the back nine. It’s got so much good holes, and the finishing three holes is amazing, 16, 17 and 18. Love the golf course. -2016

Q. Is it a day that you’re pleased with or one that you feel should have been better?
Well, I feel like I should have done better. Obviously first round of the year, but I felt like I probably turned a 68 or 67 into a 70. It’s unfortunate.

But with the high winds that we have on the forecast, obviously the greens are a little bit slower to make sure the ball doesn’t move, and these greens are a little bit grainy already. So it’s not easy to hit some of the spots and into the grain, they are quite tough. They don’t roll as true as you would like to but it is what it is. -2016

Q. This is a place you’ve won twice. What is it you love about coming back here? Is it an opportunity to build some much-needed confidence for you?
Exactly what I said there. You’ve got to shape the ball around here. The pins are sometimes quite tight. The greens are kind of pretty firm. You’ve got to be able to control the flight of your ball really well around here, which I’ve always been able to do. It’s not something that I’ve ever really worked on. Like I say, knocking it down, I’ve always been quite comfortable doing that, and if there’s any course you need to do that, it’s here. -2016

Q. Do you relish that kind of challenge?
Yeah, I like it. Us Danish people, we grow up with a lot of wind and cold. Yeah, I like it. I think it’s a great layout, this golf course. It suits to be breezy out here. Yeah, it was a good challenge. -2016

Q. You are the Dunhill Links champion and this is linksy, so might meet your eye.
It not really a linksy golf course, but breezy. But you need to play a few shots out there, a few low ones in this wind. Every hole has a little bit of a side wind, so you need to control the ball very well. -2016

Q. Do you like these kind of conditions, giving you a different kind of challenge?
Yeah, I’ve always liked windy conditions. I’ve posted some decent results here. It’s a course that if it blows a certain way and certain angles on certain holes, I can maybe take a few corners and don’t really care if I’m on the fairway or the rough as much as some of the other guys might. The rough is not as severe, so therefore, there’s a few holes where you can open it up. -2016

Q. You say you’ve always enjoyed this course. There’s some tremendous results and chances, aren’t there?
Yeah, it’s a good golf course. It suits my eye pretty nicely. It’s just a question if I’m sharp or not. -2016

Q. What is it about this place that really ticks the box for you?
I don’t know, I like playing in the desert. I always play well around here, and just like the golf course. Like I said, I like the type of shot-making, grainy greens. It brings back a lot of good memories. -2016

Q. And Qatar as an environment, is this a good place to come at the start of the year?
Yeah, I like this course. There’s a lot of wind and it suits my game and I like to be here. -2016

Q. You’re one of those players on Tour that if had to describe you, would say, he’s really creative and not afraid to work the ball and hit all different types of shots. Is that a big advantage playing in conditions like we’re seeing this week? It’s going to be very windy, isn’t it?
You know, you cannot control the conditions you’re playing on, so you have to play like it is and enjoy it. Yeah, probably I’m a good player with the wind. I like to play it down. Yeah, I’m getting better without the wind, but I still play very well with the wind. -2016

Q. 68, you must be happy with that. Would it be fair to say you’re well-known for your ball-striking; is that one of the skills that leaves you better equipped than most when the challenge is as difficult as it is in this wind?
I think I’m well known for a very consistent player, not having many clubs through the bag. On a day of a lot of wind, normally you need to use a lot of resources and I think I’m good at that. I’m used to playing with the wind, plus I like this course. -2016

Q. You’ve dealt with it really well, but is there ever a sense of frustration as a player when you realise that you’re on the tough end of the draw?
I didn’t even think about it, so yeah, no comment. -2016

Q. Last year you won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. How much of a confidence boost does it give you when you know you can play well and win in the wind when you get conditions like this?
Yeah, I mean, it’s obviously given me a lot of confidence. I’ve always played in a lot of wind, and I like it. I like this golf course a lot. I think it suits my eyes, and I’ve played well before here. So yeah, I’m looking forward to a good week. Been working hard on my golf game. Still need to work hard, but it’s getting better every day. -2016

Q. You’ve tended to play well in the past in windswept conditions, haven’t you?
I’m from Perth. It gets pretty windy out there with the Fremantle Doctor that blows through most afternoons. Yeah, this course, it does set up — just suits my eye for some reason. Yeah, I’ve played well in the past. Third was my best finish. Hopefully a couple better this year would be nice. -2016

Q. Tour players are used to having to deal with all sort of conditions and they have to learn to do so. How much of an advantage is it to be a guy that’s growing up playing at Hesketh, so you’ve been doing it since you were a little boy; does that really help when it blows like this?
I think so. We maybe have more variety of shots in our bag, to guys that grow up in perfect climates on perfect golf courses. We had to deal with wind maybe six, eight months of the year, it was so tricky. I’m very, very used to it. I think being on Tour, you sort of forget what it’s like to play in winds, but then when you do get a windy day, it comes back to you again. Certainly there was a variety of shots in the bag today. -2016

Q. This suggests there’s a grittiness about you, a resilience to get things done.
I think it’s growing up on links courses my whole career, and having to play in the wind a lot. You just can’t give up. It’s that sort of weather today. You just have to keep grinding away. You’re not going to hit every green. You’re not going to hit every fairway. You’re going to have some bad breaks, as well. You just have to stay patient and hopefully not make too many bogeys out there. -2016

Past Previews

2018 Preview
2017 Preview