HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) _ The MCI Classic will have a purse of $1.9 million next April, an increase of $400,000 over this season.

Only six PGA Tour events paid as much in 1997 as the MCI Classic will next season, when the tournament will be celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The winner's share also gets a hefty increase to $342,000. Former British Open champion Nick Price won $270,000 this year when he claimed a six-stroke victory at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The inaugural tournament in 1969 had a $100,000 purse, with $20,000 going to winner Arnold Palmer. Finishing 23rd will earn almost the same amount next year.

The 1998 MCI Classic will be played April 13-19, the week following The Masters.