Bernhard Langer won the title after his first Masters Tournament success in 1985 while Greg Norman and Nick Faldo won the title two months after winning the Open Championship in 1986 and 1992 respectively. The South African will be attempting to join that elite group when he and the rest of the field pit their skills against the new Smurfit Course at The K Club.
Goosen, the World Number Seven, is joined by other Major Champions Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle, José Mara Olazábal and Ian Woosnam in an impressive line-up.
It would also break a personal duck for the 32 year old who has never tasted European Tour success in his native country, despite winning in almost every continent in the world.
Phillip Price of Wales defends the title following his wire-to-wire victory 12 months ago, a brave birdie on the final hole taking him clear of Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth and Mark McNulty, who has subsequently taken up Irish citizenship. Victory marked the start of a phenomenal three week spell for the Ryder Cup player in which he finished first, joint second and joint tenth in three of the biggest events of the year.
Ten of Europe’s victorious 2002 Ryder Cup team will be in action with Clarke, Harrington and Price joined by Thomas Björn, Niclas Fasth, Pierre Fulke, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie, Jesper Parnevik, who makes his debut in the event, and Westwood.
Record prize money of €3,300,088 (£2.2 million) is on offer for the tenth edition of the Smurfit European Open at The K Club, with the winner taking home (€550,005) £366,660.
The spectacular and challenging Smurfit Course will be hosting the event for the first time after nine years over the Palmer Course. The Palmer Course will stage next year’s Smurfit European Open with the tournament reverting to The Smurfit Course in 2006, the same year as The 36th Ryder Cup Matches are played over the Palmer Course.
Courtesy of http://www.europeantour.com/