Friday

Qatar Masters - Awesome Alvaro Attempts to Defend

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He's one of the most unique and appealing players in the world; a 6'3" Spaniard who happens to be one of the biggest hitters... ever. And everyone who meets Alvaro Quiros says he's amazingly nice. Some even say he's too nice. I always wonder what that implies.

When Alvaro Quiros won the impressive looking mother-of-pearl trophy at the Qatar Masters a year ago in a tense final round, many felt it might be followed by a win in the US, and a truly amazing break-out year.

He headed to the US... and to The Masters... ranked 27th in the world, and John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal suggested that, with his Mediterranean charm, good looks and perpetual smile, he could be the Tour’s next Spanish heartthrob.

There were some notable Alvaro Quiros moments last summer, the most memorable took place at the PGA Championship in Hazeltine. After missing the cut at the first three majors, Señor Quiros stunned Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington in the first round with a second shot that rolled onto the 11th green between them, while they were still lining up their putts. The 11th was a 600-yard par-5 uphill into the wind making that second shot, hit with a driver from the fairway "just stupid long". Those were the words Tiger used.

Ultimately sabotaged by his short game, Alvaro Quiros finished T24, and the 2009 PGA Championship will be remembered for Y.E. Yang's historic come-from-behind upset of Tiger Woods. And it all seems so long ago, doesn't it?

Yesterday in Doha the 2009 Qatar Masters champion dropped just a single shot in a four under 68, keeping the chances alive for a historic defense of his title... and the Mother-of-Pearl trophy. Alvaro Quiros is also fighting for a second trip to Augusta and a spot on the European Ryder Cup so this would be a big win for the big hitter from Cadiz, and at three back from co-leaders Paul Casey and Bradley Dredge, it's certainly conceivable.

I know I wouldn't be alone in celebrating a win by the swashbuckling Spaniard.

Photo: Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images