Buoyant Jeev all set for Qatar Masters golf

Jeev Milkha Singh is all set to tee off at the $2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters golf on Thursday.

updated: January 31, 2008 10:44 IST
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Jeev Milkha Singh, feeling on top of the world after getting an invitation from the Augusta Masters, is all set to tee off at the $2.5 million Commercial Bank Qatar Masters golf on Thursday.

Jeev, who has been suffering from a touch of fever, said, "The invitation from Masters has got me all pumped up. And I have also recovered from the fever I have had last few days. In fact, I was in bed when I got the call from Masters. From that moment I have been walking on air and very excited."

Jeev has been paired with the fashionable Ian Poulter and Ryder Cup hero Colin Montgomerie in the first round.

Also in the field are Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur, who like Jeev showed rust from the off season and missed the cut last week in Abu Dhabi Golf Championships.

Randhawa goes out with March Warren and Simon Dyson, who like the Indian is a former Asian Tour Order of merit winner. Kapur will play the first two rounds with Marcus Fraser and Martin Erlandsson.

Meanwhile, the tournament received a setback as defending champion Retief Goosen was forced to withdraw because of an eye injury. He has been replaced by Sweden's Henrik Nystrom.

Goosen underwent corrective laser surgery ten days ago and travelled to Qatar intending to defend his title. However during practice on Tuesday, his vision in one eye began to blur. He immediately travelled to Dubai for further treatment on Tuesday afternoon. He returned in the evening and last night still hoped to be able to compete.

But he was still having problems with his vision and then decided to withdraw from the tournament.

Goosen said: "I am obviously very sad that I am unable to defend my title. I came all this way to play but unfortunately the eye is causing a problem. I thought it would come good but it hasn't. I went to Dubai yesterday (Tuesday) and the advice was to go back to London for treatment.

"I have had laser treatment before, seven years ago, and felt it needed a touch up which I had done ten days ago. But there has been a bit of growth with a fibre in the left eye. It is a very simple procedure to take it out and the advice was to do it sooner.

"It is a shame as I love this event, love this course and I can't remember the last time I pulled out of a tournament. I think I pulled out of the Scottish Open once with a back injury but that is all. You are never happy leaving a tournament without teeing it up."

American Ryder Cup Player Scott Verplank was also forced to withdraw from the Wednesday Pro-Am suffering from a stomach complaint.