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John Daly confirms entry at B&H International

Former Open champion John Daly, one of the most exciting and charismatic golfers of the modern era, will be making his first appearance in the UK this year at the Benson and Hedges International Open, which takes place at The De Vere Belfry, near Birmingham, from May 9-12, 2002.

The big-hitting American will not be the only star on show as early entries for the tournament also include Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and the reigning US Open champion Retief Goosen.

The Benson and Hedges International Open has been won by many of the most famous names in the sport in its 32-year history, including Tony Jacklin, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie and current European Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance.

Prize money for this year's event has been increased to £1.1 million, a 10% increase on 2001, with a first prize of £183,000.

John Daly burst on to the international golf scene in 1991 when, as the ninth and final alternate into the USPGA Championship at Crooked Stick, he finished three shots clear of the field, a victory that earned him the title of PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. He won his second major in 1995 after a memorable play-off against Costantino Rocca in The Open at St Andrews, and in 2000 earned his ninth Driving Distance title, and sixth in a row, with a longest drive of 364 yards.

Daly returned to form last season with a victory in the BMW International Open in Germany, a success that delighted his many fans in Europe.

"I enjoy playing in Europe immensely," said the 35 year old from Arkansas. "There are fewer distractions and the crowds seem to be very enthusiastic to watch me play."

Daly will be making his debut in the Benson and Hedges International Open and the tournament will provide him with his first experience of the Brabazon course at The Belfry, which is also the venue for the Ryder Cup in September.

"I am really looking forward to playing in the Benson and Hedges International Open this year," he said. "I have heard great reports about the Brabazon course at The Belfry and the tournament is one of the most prestigious on the European Tour."

The Benson and Hedges International Open is the first British event of this year's European Tour and is preceded by the traditional Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday, May 8, 2002, which will feature stars from the world of show business and sport alongside the leading professional golfers. Advance tickets can be ordered by calling the ticket hotline on 01235 867338. Discount prices are available on all tickets booked before April 28.

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