Time To Raise Your Glasses

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European TourThe European Tour's traveling golf circus rolls into Ireland this week for the Smurfit European Open, and for the ninth time, it will be played at the prestigious K Club in Dublin.
 
The Arnold Palmer designed parkland course, which will also play host to the 2006 Ryder Cup matches, welcomes back defending champion Michael Campbell along with a slew of the European Tour's other big names.
 
Former champions dot the field, with 2001 champion Darren Clarke, 1999 and 2000 winner Lee Westwood, as well as 1992 winner Nick Faldo, set to tee it up in the 26th playing of this event.
 
Bernhard Langer, who won the event back in 1985 only to capture the title 10 years later in 1995, also will be in the field trying to keep two of the host country's favorite sons, Clarke and Padraig Harrington, from winning the title.
 
Harrington, the winner of two events already this season, looks for number three on a course practically in his backyard. Though he took home the trophy for the 1998 Irish PGA Championship, Harrington hasn't won an official European Tour event on home soil.
 
England's Justin Rose, who has six top-10s this season yet no wins, compared to his breakout year in 2002 which saw him garner four titles worldwide, comes into the event playing well. His closing round 65 at the Open de France was good enough for a tie for third and an impressive Sunday 1-under 69 at the U. S. Open vaulted him into a tie for fifth there.
 
Retief Goosen and a resurgant Colin Montgomerie round out the strong field, in what for some are the final preparations for the 132nd Open Championship in two weeks at Royal St. George's in England.
 
The winner recieves a first-place check of $550,705 out of the $3,182,405 total purse.
 
Related Links
  • European Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of the Smurfit European Open