Record prize money of €3,750,000 has been confirmed for the 2004 Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 27-30, an increase of €250,000 on 2003 which ensures that the 50th winner of The European Tour’s flagship event will collect a first prize of €625,000.
Current Volvo Order of Merit winner, Ernie Els of South Africa, and 2003 US PGA Tour Money List champion, Fiji’s Vijay Singh - ranked third and second in the world respectively - have confirmed their participation in the 50th playing of the PGA Championship, which began with a victory for England’s Ken Bousfield in 1955 and has been underpinned by the unstinting support of Volvo since 1988.
The €250,000 increase over the 2003 prize fund maintains the progressive trend which has seen the Volvo PGA Championship grow steadily since the inaugural Volvo-sponsored Championship in 1988, when Ian Woosnam collected €70,000 from a total prize fund of €420,000.
Last year’s champion, Ignacio Garrido of Spain, collected a winner’s cheque for €583,330 after winning the Volvo PGA Championship at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off against South Africa’s Trevor Immelman, both players having tied on 270, 18 under par, after four dramatic days of intense competition over the world famous West Course at Wentworth Club.
Ken Schofield, Executive Director of The European Tour, said: “This is another important milestone in the Tour’s special relationship with Volvo. We are very proud to reach the 50th playing of this great Championship with a prize fund of €3,750,000 for 2004, a significant development which further enhances the status of the Volvo PGA Championship as the Tour’s flagship event.”
Mel Pyatt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Volvo Event Management, the company which oversees Volvo’s involvement in sport, commented: “The common aim of both Volvo and The European Tour has, from the outset, been to deliver a product of the highest quality and to raise the profile of European golf as a whole.
“This continues to be our objective and it is particularly satisfying, and a great source of pride, to announce a new record prize fund for 2004, as this wonderful Championship reaches its 50th birthday with Volvo at the cutting edge of the golfing sponsorship market.
“The enduring success of the Volvo PGA Championship is a reflection of the close partnership between Volvo and The European Tour, which has gone from strength to strength since 1988. We look forward to another Championship of the highest quality in May.”