By Dickson Ogutu
The annual Magical Kenya Open 2020 is set for a colourful return in the 2020 edition after Absa Bank Kenya PLC announced a Ksh75 million sponsorship for this year’s Magical Kenya Open (MKO) Golf Tournament slated for 12th to 15th March 2020.
The 2020 MKO, part of the European Tour, is scheduled to take place between March 12 and March 15 at the Karen Country Club and is expected to attract a larger number of global professional as well as Kenyan players.
The sponsorship is part of Absa Bank Kenya’s ongoing Ksh150 million sponsorship that was announced by Absa Group in 2019 as the presenting sponsor. The deal marks the 10th anniversary of the bank’s sponsorship for Kenya Open that began in 2011. Founded in 1967, the Kenya Open has grown from a little-known tournament into a first-rate tournament that is now part of the prestigious European tour.
“Over the past 10 years, we have walked hand in hand with the Kenya Open Golf Limited to grow the profile and stature of the Kenya Open tournament, transforming it into a great asset, not just for the golfing fraternity but also for the country. As a result, Kenya Open is now one of the biggest sporting events in sub-Saharan Africa and has contributed immensely to the promotion of Kenya as a global golfing and sports tourism destination and we are looking forward to this year’s tournament,” says Mr. Jeremy Awori, Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director.
In addition to this sponsorship, Absa Bank has further committed to reward the top five Kenyan professionals who will be participating in the tournament, each receiving sponsorship worth KES250, 000. Any of the Absa-sponsored Kenyan golfers who make it to the top 20 after the first two rounds in the 2020 MKO will take home KES 500, 000, while those who make it to the top ten after the final round of the tournament will receive an additional token of KES1 million each.
The packages for the Kenyan professionals were announced in November last year when the bank committed to sponsor nine Kenyan professionals and one amateur to successfully participate in the just-concluded Safari Tour series. The benefitting pros include the Professional Golfers of Kenya captain C.J Wangai, Eric Ooko, Riz Charania, Simon Ngige, Kopan Timbe, David Wakhu, Jastas Madoya, Mohit Mediratta, and the youngest Kenyan pro, Mathew Wahome.
Apart from the Pros sponsorship throughout the Safari Tours, the bank has also organised several junior golfers’ clinics to mentor upcoming golfers through interactions with top professionals in a bid to cultivate interest in the sport among the youth and to grow their talent.
The Kenya Open, first played in 1967 and has grown to become one of Kenya’s most important events on the sporting calendar. The Kenya Open now forms an integral part of the European Tour and attracts top golfers from across the globe. Last year, 22-year old Italy’s Guido Migliozzi won the tournament receiving Euros 183,330 (KSh20.5 million) as the tournament’s winner while all professionals who finished in the top ten took home at least Ksh2.5 million each.