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Golf News: - Posted 24th March 1998

Big increase in European Open prize fund

Dublin, Ireland - Record prize money of 1.25 million ($2.083 million), an increase of 400,000 ($666,000), will be on offer at the 1998 Smurfit European Open making it the second most lucrative event in Europe after the British Open.

The European Open takes place at the Kildare Hotel and Country Club on 20th - 23rd August when Per-Ulrik Johansson of Sweden will defend the title.

Only the Open Championship, with a new total purse of 1.75 million ($2.916 dollars) and the winner receiving 300,000 ($500,000), offers more prize money in Europe. The winner of the European Open will receive 208,300

European Tour executive director Ken Schofield welcomed the increase from the sponsors, the Jefferson Smurfit Group, a packaging company.

"This is nothing less than spectacular evidence of the increasing strength of the European Tour and points the way towards the new Millennium," Schofield said.

Prize money for the inaugural European Open in 1978 was 105,000 with a first prize of 18,000.

The contract for the Smurfit European Open is already extended through to the year 2000.