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Greg Norman's event to be Australia's richest

The Greg Norman Holden International will become Australia's richest golf tournament after a A$1 million (US$644,000) boost in prize money paid for by the former world number one.

The extra prize money lifted the prize pool to A$2 million for the Australasian tour event, which is to also be co-sanctioned by the European tour.

Officials said it should ensure a top field for the February 3-6 tournament at Sydney's The Lakes course.

Norman's Australian manager Frank Williams was quoted by local media as saying the added A$1 million came from Norman's "back pocket" and not from sponsor Holden.

The previous biggest Australian event was the A$1.6 million Heineken Classic in Perth, which is also co-sanctioned by the Australasian and European tours.

The International is played the week after the Heineken Classic and Williams said he expected many of the European tour players to make the journey across from Perth.

He said Norman felt co-sanctioning was the only way to compete with massive prize money increases on the US PGA Tour which have made it hard to get leading overseas players to Australia.

"Greg felt we were being gradually squeezed out of the world arena and the only way to stay in was to link with the European tour," Williams was reported as saying.