With the Masters being played next week, many of the European Tour's top names are absent this week, although four winners from the 2004 schedule, as well as six former champions of this event, are set to tee it up this week.
Leading this group is Spain's Miguel Angel Jimnez ,who earlier in the year won the Johnnie Walker Classic. Currently ranked 53rd in the official world rankings, Jimenez has struggled of late missing the cut at the Dubai Desert Classic then getting DQ'd at the Qatar Masters.
Despite his recent troubles, he still ranks fourth on the European Tour's Order of Merit and has posted one other top-10 finish, that coming with a tie for 6th at the Carlsberg Malaysian Open.
The only other player in the field ranked higher in the world than Jimenez is England's Brian Davis, who is fast becoming one of the top players on the European circuit.
Ranked 50th in the world, Davis also in a spot ahead of Jimenez in the Order of Merit list, thanks in part to his win at the ANZ Championship in February and two other top-5 finishes at the abovementioned Dubai Desert Classic and the Qatar Masters.
Davis, who had 11 top-10 finishes last year before finally notching his first title at the ANZ, has steadily climbed in the rankings from the start of the of the 2003 season where he was ranked 150th in the world. He had moved to 60th by the end of 2003 before finally cracking the top 50 this past month.
Chris Hanell, who won his maiden title at last week's Madeira Island Open, will be in search to become the first player to win back-to-back titles on tour since Vijay Singh accomplished the feat back in the 2001 season.
The Le Meridien Penina Golf & Resort, which was designed by Sir Henry Cotton, will play host to the event for the seventh time.
The purse is $1,519,000, with the champion receiving $253,000.