After a total of 50 annual edititions since its debut, this year’s Kenya Open Golf Tour is expected to be a one of a kind sports event that will probably put Kenyan golf to the global market.
The event is scheduled to start at March 14 and run to tMarch 17 at the Karen Country Club and has received sponsorship from multiple companies that will see it match up to the level expected of World Tours.
After being played for 50 years, Kenya Open was elevated from the European Challenge tour to the Main European Tour making it a global event that will attract top rated golfers from all around the World. The coming of top golfers will also see fans visit Kenya for the event although it will be broadcast worldwide.
The elevation has made the event organizers to boost the prize money from a previous half a million dollars to 1.1 million euros. The raise of the prize money has attracted top International golfers who have already expressed interest in participating in the event.
According to the Tournament Director Paul Obath, the raise of the prize money has made the event bigger especially after it was elevated the European tour.
“The Kenya Open has this year moved from the European Challenge Tour and joined the prestigious European Tour – meaning we are going to have a greater caliber of players taking part at this year’s tournament,” Mr Obath said at an Interview on KTN News.
Mr Obath promised fans a new experience compared to last year’s as the event has been organised differently to match European Tour status.
“Participants and spectators at this year’s Kenya Open can expect an experience different from last year’s in that we are putting up infrastructure to enhance the experience for all,” he added.
Following the positive change, Kenya Open has attracted sponsors who have figuratively brought in bags of money in support of the event. The government has led by example injecting a whooping Ksh. 253m to be confirmed as the title sponsors of the event.
Just like the other sponsors of the event, the government looks to benefit as the event is expected to boost the number of tourists that will be coming to Kenya. Branding it Magical Kenya Open to make visitors be fascinated by not only the tournament but also the magical nature of the country.
On Tuesday, Absa Group Limited which operates in Kenya as Barclays Bank, donated Ksh 220 million to make them the latest contributors to the event. Absa however have been sponsors of the event for the last 8 years six of which they were title sponsors. The donation will go down as the biggest sponsorship deal from a private sector corporate in the tournament’s 51-year history.
In announcing the sponsorship, Barclays Bank of Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the sponsorship looks to build on the successes of the previous editions of the tournament as it still progresses.
For the past eight years, working hand-in-hand with the Kenya Open Golf Limited, we have grown the stature of this tournament and turned it into an asset not only for the golfing fraternity, but for the country,” Awori said.
Sponsors supplementing the contributions of the government and Barclays include Kenya Breweries, Hemmingway’s Nairobi, Coca-Cola, Wilken Group, Copycat, AAR, Nation Media Group, DStv and Meridian Group.