Record prize money of £2,300,000 (€3,336,288) has been confirmed for the 2005 Smurfit European Open at The K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland, from June 30 to July 3, an increase of £100,000 (€145,056) on 2004.

The increased prize fund maintains the progressive growth of the Smurfit European Open since the Jefferson Smurfit Group became title sponsor in 1995 with prize money of £650,000 (€910,000). From 1995 to 2005 inclusive, the total prize money for the Smurfit European Open will total £16,871,347 (€22,016,012).

George O’Grady, Executive Director of The European Tour, said: “This is another significant landmark in the Tour’s special relationship with the Jefferson Smurfit Group. The Smurfit European Open has grown substantially during the decade since our move to The K Club and we thank Dr Michael Smurfit for his vision in bringing the event to this superb venue and also his role in developing the prize fund to a new record level in 2005.”

Dr Michael Smurfit, said: “The Smurfit European Open is a truly international event, as our list of champions clearly identifies. To remain at the forefront of The European Tour it is important that our event gets the prize fund it deserves and we are delighted to be able to announce another six-figure rise to reach a new record level of £2,300,000 (€3,336,288) this year.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all our support sponsors and in particular our Partners, Fáilte Ireland, Budweiser and Lucent Technologies for their continued backing of the Smurfit European Open.”

The Smurfit European Open will revert to The Palmer Course (formerly the North Course) this year after being played on The Smurfit Course (formerly the South Course) for the first time in 2004. The Palmer Course staged the first nine editions of the tournament and will also host The 36th Ryder Cup Matches in September, 2006.

Previous winners of the title have been: Bernhard Langer (1995), Per-Ulrik Johansson (1996 and 1997), Mathias Grönberg (1998), Lee Westwood (1999 and 2000), Darren Clarke (2001), Michael Campbell (2002), Phillip Price (2003) and Retief Goosen (2004).

For further information contact:
Communications Department
The European Tour
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 840400
Fax: +44 (0) 1344 840444