It is the Big Easy's first time at the event and he becomes the highest ranked player the tournament has had in its field since its inception in 1998.
Els, who topped Miguel Angel Jimenez in dramatic fashion at the Dubai Desert Classic, vaulted all the way up to second on the tour's Order of Merit list with his win and will try to improve on that ranking in what is the tour's 11th event of the season.
The 35-year-old South African has finished atop the Order of Merit list the past two seasons and a good result here will keep that streak well within his sights. After playing in Qatar, Els will embark on a month-long stay in the United States that will cultimate in his effort to win his first Masters title.
Els, who has averaged about 15 tournaments a season on the European Tour over the last three years, will rejoin the tour for the Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing, China, towards the end of April.
Like the Johnnie Walker Classic, the Qatar Masters is a joint-sanctioned event between both the European Tour and the Asian Tour.
The 2004 champion of the tournament, Swede Joakim Haeggman, is set to defend his title against the mighty Els.
Haeggman captured the event last year after firing a final-round 7-under 65 to notch the come-from-behind victory over Nobuhito Sato. It was Haeggman's first win in over seven years.
The event will be played at the Doha Golf Club in Qatar for the eighth straight year and offers a purse of $1,500,000.
Other players in the field include Els' fellow South African Darren Fichardt, the 2003 champion, New Zealand's Michael Campbell, 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie and Stehen Dodd, who's coming off a 4th place showing in Dubai.