By Brian Keogh

Tournament director Jamie Birkmyre is convinced he has been hit by The K Club curse.

Battling to set up the course in almost constant rain, the last straw for Englishman came on Monday when the Smurfit European Open trophy suffered serious damage.

The top snapped off the 18-inch Waterford Crystal creation as volunteer Darryl O'Hora carefully placed it back in its packing case.

Birkmyre explained: "When the trophy came in, we unpacked it to make sure they had engraved Stephen Dodd's name correctly. Then a few minutes later Darryl came back and said: 'We have a bit of a disaster.'

"The top of the trophy, which is a star with European Open logo, had broken off as he was putting it away. He is son of the chief marshal and the poor chap was absolutely crestfalled.

"So we got hold of Waterford and he drove straight down to give it back to them for repair. We are going to have it back by Thursday but it was a bit of a fright."

It is not the first time that Waterford has had to repair a golf trophy in Ireland.

Two years ago, Aussie Brett Rumford had to send out an SOS to Waterford when he shipped his 2004 replica back to Perth and found the crystal memento in pieces when he unpacked it.