NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 4 – The iconic Kenya Open has served as a round of the second tier European Challenge Tour from 1991 to 2018.
During that period, the Magical Kenya Open earned its reputation as the most popular round of the Challenge Tour given the great spectator experience in and out of the course.
In 2019, the iconic event was elevated to European Tour (now the DP World Tour) status and continues to attract some top global pros save for the 2020 edition which was called off due to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
What’s more, the Magical Kenya Open is returning to its home Muthaiga Golf Club 55years later.
The 2021 event returned to the European Tour for the second time at the Karen Country Club minus spectators and under stringent Ministry of Health and European Tour COVID-19 guidelines.
These are indeed interesting times with which the sporting world has had to contend with the evolving situation.
Now the Government is keen to see the event retain its unique features and indeed remain a leading fixture of the fabled Tour which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed speaking at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course noted that Government funding of the event is a clear indication where Kenya wants to go as a country in as far as sports tourism and local talent development are concerned.
“This edition is coming back to its original home 55years later, we are celebrating many things, the fact that this is the third edition that we are sponsoring it as a part of the prestigious Tour is quite a great feeling and that it’s coming back to Muthaiga after 55years,” The CS disclosed.
She added, “This year’s event started with the ProAm where Tour pros were coupled with the amateur golfers and so the atmosphere was excellent. It shows how much interest the country has and how well the country intends to do in golf.”
Amina added that being a part of the DP World Tour the event is being beamed live across the globe to ostensibly showcase what the country has to offer on pay TV channels.
“As we support the Magical Kenya Open, we are also keen to elevate the ladies version (Magical Kenya Ladies Open) in order to create equal opportunities to both men and women who are our compatriots and continue to showcase their prowess. You have actually seen how our young man (Njoroge Kibugu) has performed,” she underscored.
Amina added that the amount of sponsorship received for the Magical Kenya Open goes to show that the tournament will continue to grow in leaps and bounds.
“Because we moved from Karen, we needed to ensure that both sections of the course are connected. We were able to put up a bridge across the road and I’m thankful to KENHA for ensuring easy movement and access of pros and caddies with their trolleys. That’s was done in record time.”
Amina noted that the increment of the prize money to 2 million Euros is to make sure that the event attracts the best making it worth their while to come to Kenya and to play.
She went on to explain: “The government paid for part of the prize money and the rest came from DP World.”
Amina added that the bubble environment at this year’s Magical Kenya Open has worked to safeguard the health of golfers and others involved.
“For all other sporting engagements that we have in the country we had testing every day. So, before you walked in you were tested Some random PCR tests have been conducted and me and my team were no exception just to be able to ensure that we had access to everything.”
“We have a bubble for the players and nobody is going to go to where they are at so that everybody will keep distance.