Madrid: Defending Madrid Masters champion Luke Donald was pleased to discover on Wednesday that he would this week become the first incumbent world number one to compete in the Spanish capital for 18 years.
The last time a top-ranked golfer played in Madrid was when Nick Faldo featured in the Spanish Open in 1993.
"That`s great news," Donald told reporters on the eve of the Madrid Masters. "If I can also do the same as Nick and win six majors I would love to follow in his footsteps."
Donald has yet to land his breakthrough victory in a major but said his rise to world number one can be traced back to his triumph here in 2010.
"It had been a while since I`d won so my victory in Madrid last year gave my confidence a big boost," said the 33-year-old Briton. "That was the start of an incredibly consistent run for me.”
"That win opened a lot of doors and I have felt duty bound to support the event by coming back to defend my title."
This week`s tournament may have a prize fund of only one million euros (1.33 million dollars) but Donald faces strong competition from the likes of Ryder Cup team mates Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and Spain`s Alvaro Quiros.
World number 41 Quiros, renowned as one of the longest hitters in golf, is making his second appearance since being sidelined by a wrist problem in August.
"I seem to have been stuck in limbo for the last few weeks and I cannot wait to see how the injury reacts in Madrid," said Quiros.
Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal is also playing in the Spanish capital but he is concerned about the putting surfaces at El Encin.
"To me there are too many slopes on the greens. They will be interesting," said Olazabal with more than a hint of irony.
The double U.S. Masters champion welcomed Donald`s decision to compete in the event.
"I`m really pleased we have got the world number one playing this week," said Olazabal. "It is really good for the tournament and for the city of Madrid."