Hunter Mahan is playing five straight tournaments to start the season, a West Coast swing that includes a 17,000-mile detour to the Middle East.
Mahan is playing the Qatar Masters next week, situated right between Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach on the golf calendar. It will be his first tournament overseas during the PGA Tour season since he was a rookie and played in France.
He said he was offered the invitation over the holidays and had two days to reply. It was a tough decision for Mahan, who is playing every week through the Match Play Championship in Arizona. Not only does he face a round-trip flight halfway around the world to a course he has never seen, Qatar is opposite the Phoenix Open, which he won two years ago.
''It was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up,'' Mahan said. ''I wanted to see if I even liked it over there, if I wanted to do it again, maybe an Abu Dhabi-Qatar swing. There's a lot of world ranking points right now. They kind of own all the big tournaments...