World Match Play Increases Purse

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LONDON - The World Match Play Championship will offer the second-richest prize in golf, increasing its winner's share to $1.56 million.

Total prize money for the 12-player tournament scheduled for mid-October at Wentworth will be $3.588 million, organizers said Thursday. The increase was announced as part of a 10-year sponsorship deal HSBC.
 
First place at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa is worth $2 million.
 
Ernie Els earned $390,000 when he won the World Match Play crown last year. He has already committed to defend his title.
 
Tiger Woods, ranked No. 1 in the world, has been invited, and 10 other players will be selected from the ranking list based on performances in the four majors -- the Masters, U.S. Open , British Open and PGA Championship.
 
The 36-hole event is run by IMG and sanctioned by the PGA European Tour. In the past, IMG has been criticized for inviting too many players under its management.
 
Andrew Hampel, IMG senior international group vice president, said that the new format of determining the field should satisfy not only sponsors, but critics of the old format.
 
Woods has played in the World Match Play Championship only once, in 1998, when Mark O'Meara beat him 1-up in the finals.
 
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