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Record purse announced for Dubai Desert Classic

Prize money for next year's Dubai Desert Classic will reach $2 million for the first time in the tournament's history, organisers of the event said on Sunday.

World number one Tiger Woods said earlier this month he would compete in the event scheduled for March 4-7 after opting out this year due to the Iraq crisis.

Woods, who came second in the event in 2001 behind Thomas Bjorn, will lead a field of 150 professionals as they chase the biggest winner's cheque offered for a golf event in the region.

"The tournament has come a long way since we staged the first Dubai Desert Classic back in 1989," said Mohammed Buamim, vice-chairman of the Dubai Desert Classic, organisers and promoters of the tournament.

"In 2004, the winner will receive a cheque for $333,330 -- that's just slightly less than what was the total overall prize money on offer in 1989."

Buamim added: "Over the past three years alone, the prize money fund has increased by 30 per cent which underlines our commitment to the sport in this part of the world.

"We continue to attract the big names -- there are none bigger than Tiger -- and we will announce many more of the stars who are lined up for next year over the coming weeks."

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