Organisers of Kenya Open Golf cannot quantify the drain

Friday, September 18th, 2020 00:00 |

Magical Kenya Open Golf Championships organisers’ decision to move the second edition of the European Tour event  slated for November 12 to 15 saved the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) from incurring losses as was the case during the March cancellation.

Kenya recorded its first Covid-19 case on March 13, forcing a postponement of this year’s edition with just six days to tee off.

European Tour, in conjunction with the organisers and the government, rescheduled the event to November.

However, last week KOGL suspended it again, taking the event back to its traditional dates in March next year. Thus, 2020 will pass without it.

“Kenya Open is part of a series of events. Normally, it is preceded by events in the Middle East and South Africa.

With so many events in the Tour cancelled, Kenya Open was left as a stand alone event in the region.

The quality of field we were getting was not attractive as many golfers are still jittery about travel. 

We therefore resolved to cancelling the November event and resulted to having the competition in March,” said KOGL General Manager Vincent Wang’ombe.

He continued: “We incurred losses in March due to the timing of the cancellation, but I am not at liberty to disclose the amount lost.

The set-up was already done then, officials had come in and other services had already been procured.

However, that was avoided in the November event since the cancellation was done early.”

Wang’ombe intimates that the decision to cancel the championships was reached at after consultations with different stakeholders including the Ministry of Tourism.

He assured that most of the sponsorships received before last March event still stand.

“The government, being the title sponsor, had already availed the money in March and they are still committed to continuing the partnership and support.

We are in touch with all the other sponsors and in March next year we will still have our traditional sponsors and possibly new ones,” Wang’ombe added.

Meanwhile, KOGL is in consultations with other stakeholders and golfers to come up with a qualification criteria for the 2021 event. 

The 2021 Safari Tour series had previously been scheduled to begin in May this year with more events added.

“We are yet to finalise on the qualification criteria. We could combine points from the last Safari Tour and a few legs from the new edition to come up with a Kenyan field for March.

In a week or two, we will have concluded talks with the stakeholders and then have the Safari Tour tee off soon after,” Wang’ombe said.

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