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Dubai prize fund increased to $2.2 million

Prize money for next year's Dubai Desert Classic has been increased to a record $2.2 million, organisers said on Wednesday.

The European Tour event, which this year attracted a strong field including Tiger Woods and twice winner Ernie Els, will be played at the Emirates Golf Club's Majlis Course from March 3-6 2005.

"In recent years, the prize money fund has increased by more than 35 percent which underlines our commitment to the sport in this part of the world," M.A. Al Ghurair, managing director of the tournament's main sponsors, said in a statement.

"The Dubai Desert Classic will continue to attract the big names such as Ernie Els and we will be announcing many more of the stars who are lined up for 2005 over the coming weeks."

South Africa's world number three Els, the winner in 1994 and 2002, has already confirmed he will chase a third Desert Classic crown next March.

American Mark O'Meara is the defending champion after winning this year's title by a shot from Irish Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley.

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