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Open purse increases by 17.5%

Prize money at this year's Open at Muirfield will leap by 17.5 percent to a record 3.8 million pounds organisers announced..

The winner of the 131st Open will receive £700,000, double the figure Paul Lawrie collected at Carnoustie in 1999.

The figures for the July 18-21 tournament were announced by the Royal and Ancient club at St. Andrews, the traditional home of golf.

In addition to increases down to 70th place where any player completing 72 holes will receive £8,500, prize money for those who don't make the cut has more than doubled so that the player in last (156th) place will now win £2,000.

``We believe that The Royal and Ancient should continue to review Open Championship prize money not only at the top but throughout the field,'' said David Hill, championship secretary of the R and A.

``In particular, we recognize the cost of competing in the championship for overseas players and have therefore put measures in place which will offset the costs for those players and will maintain the international strength of the field.''

The R and A said that the recent dramatic rise in prize money is highlighted by the amount Nick Faldo received at Muirfield in 1992 for the last of his three Open wins. Then, he received £95,000 out of a total prize fund of £950,000.

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