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Mahan and McDowell reprise Ryder clash in Qatar
Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell will reprise their thrilling 2010 Ryder Cup singles encounter after being drawn together for the opening two rounds of this week's Qatar Masters.
February 1, 2012 1:16 by Reuters
With the overall Ryder Cup score tantalisingly poised at 13 1/2 – 13 1/2, the two golfers had everything to play for in the final match on the course at Celtic Manor, Wales.
Briton McDowell secured a 3 & 1 win for the European team with a conceded par while American Mahan was in tears after succumbing to nerves and fluffing his chip at the 17th.
“Graeme and I get on very well so I’m sure we’ll have a good couple of days,” Mahan told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
“The Ryder Cup was a good time ago and I am now focused more on making this year’s team. It was disappointing to be on that losing side so I really want to get myself on (captain) Davis Love’s team to be on a winning team.”
The 29-year-old Mahan is making his first appearance in a Middle East event.
“I played a practice round today and it seems like a great golf course and a great tournament,” he said. “This is what golf is at the moment – worldwide.
“It’s difficult for me to be a global player as my roots are in the US and it’s not like I am going to join the European Tour any time soon but in saying that I do feel as though I am becoming a better player playing a little more around the world.
“It’s good to learn to play off different grasses, compete on different golf courses, experience windy conditions, and it helps to keep your mind sharp,” said the world number 19.
“In the US we play too much on the same golf courses every year so to play a new golf course like this one in Doha, my mind is going to have to be sharp. You have to think more and be more a complete golfer.”
Mahan arrived in Doha after finishing joint sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open in California on Sunday.
He joins six other players from the world’s top-20 in this week’s tournament – number three Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer (four), Jason Day (10), McDowell (11), KJ Choi (13) and Sergio Garcia (18).
“I know many of the leading European Tour players so that’s going to help this week,” said Mahan.
“I’m also coming off a good result last week. That was my first tournament for six or seven weeks.
“It was good to get back out there and see where my game was at because you’re never too sure how you are going to perform having had so many weeks off.”
The event, the second in the tour’s so-called ‘Desert Swing’ that also includes the Abu Dhabi Championship and next week’s Dubai Desert Classic, starts on Thursday. (By Bernie McGuire; Editing by Tony Jimenez)