sport

Rose looks to break his duck

Ryder Cup team-mates Paul Lawrie and Justin Rose return to the Qatar Masters this week with vastly different records in the event.

Lawrie is the defending champion and two-time winner, while world number four Rose has failed even to make it to the weekend on four previous visits.

It is something the 32-year-old had wiped from his memory and probably did not appreciate being informed about on the eve of the tournament's Wednesday start.

"Have I never made the cut here? Haven't I? That's brilliant," an incredulous Rose told European Tour Radio after moving on from Abu Dhabi, where he finished runner-up to Welshman Jamie Donaldson on Sunday.

"I think that's one of my strengths. I don't tend to remember these things.

"Hopefully I can break my duck this year. Let's start there - that will be a decent goal."

Rose has also yet to score under 70 at the Doha club since making his debut in 1999.

That was one of a nightmare 21 successive missed cuts at the start of his professional career, but it was also the week that saw Lawrie triumph and five months later, of course, the Scot added the Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Last season the event had to be reduced to 54 holes because of strong winds, but in between the delays Lawrie shot rounds of 69, 67 and then a superb closing 65 to beat Swede Peter Hanson and Australian Jason Day by four.

"It's always a place I enjoy playing," he said. "The greens always roll well and most of the time I control the ball well in the wind.

"It's very seldom you get a day with no wind at all and I have lots of good memories."

Lawrie's second victory helped secure a second Ryder Cup cap 13 years after the first and both he and Rose grabbed crucial singles wins in Chicago as Europe staged their unforgettable fightback.

Rose returned to fourth place in the rankings at the weekend after losing it seven days earlier when Louis Oosthuizen won the Volvo Golf Champions.

The South African did not play in Abu Dhabi, but is back in action now and he and Rose, the highest-ranked players in the field, go head-to-head in the opening two rounds just as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods did last week.

Hopefully for them, the outcome will be different. McIlroy and Woods both missed the cut, of course.

Sergio Garcia makes his first appearance of the season and among those also taking part are Open champion Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey and American Ryder Cupper Jason Dufner, who came joint ninth in the first leg of the circuit's Middle East swing.