The 50th edition of the Barclays Kenya Open will see the winner walk away with Sh10 million (80,000 euros) after the prize kitty for this year’s event was increased to Sh62.5 million following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive last year.
This is an increase by more than double the amount won by last year’s champion Aaron Rai who walked away with Sh3.5 million (then 32,500 euros). The increase is said to have created interest in the event from more experienced golfers with the field expected to be more competitive.
The increase in prize money is aimed at raising the bar at the championship, increasing participation of local players and attracting a higher calibre of players from across the globe which will result in golf development from the junior ranks to the elite amateurs across the country.
It will also go a long way in marketing the country as a tourism destination. Meanwhile, there are still four rounds to play in the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) qualifier series after Muthaiga Golf and Sigona Golf Clubs completed theirs.
“The professional golfers will play in one more event that has been added to the original five-leg list. This will be played at Royal in mid March but Jamii Telcom remains our last qualifier event,” explained PGK chairperson Charan Thethy who was speaking during a cheque handover from Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL), who have sponsored a training for the pros to a tune of Sh2 million.
“We will hold a week-long training programme for the professionals from March 5 to help us prepare mentally for the competition. The training will be conducted by South African professionals,” added Thethy.
To ensure Kenyan golfers get better and are able vie for the elusive Open title, KOGL chairperson Peter Kanyago said plans are underway to have a local golf tour that will tee off early enough.