The tournament was first played in 1998, the defending champion in 2010 being the long hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros who last year won by three shots over South African Louis Oosthuizen and 2006 champion Henrik Stenson.
Last week's winner in Abu Dhabi, Martin Kaymer seeks consecutive victories and his fourth European Tour win in seven months. He has risen to the giddy heights of world number 6 but it might well be that he is even higher by week's end.
Other players from the world top ten are Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.
Of those and apart from Kaymer, the most in form is perhaps Poulter who finished runner up last week in Abu Dhabi and has been inside the top ten in five of his last six starts worldwide.
Lee Westwood has played well enough at this event in the past and his current world ranking of 4 gives him the credentials to be the favourite this week.
One player who is in form and who enjoys some good results at this golf course is Charl Schwartzel. Schwartzel dominated the recent events in South Africa winning twice and finishing runner-up on one other occasion. Away from the leading world ranked players he stands a very good chance.
Sergio Garcia has been solid if unspectacular in recent months and I expect him to go close to winning his first tournament since November of 2008. He has done well enough in Qatar when he has played the event.
Australasian chances are led by desert specialist, Richard Green, who played well enough last week in Abu Dhabi and regularly plays well in this region.
Danny Lee, Marcus Fraser, Brett Rumford, Michael Campbell and Mark Brown are others in the field.
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