This year’s Magical Kenya Open scheduled for Karen Country Club from March 12-15, on Tuesday received a boost of Sh75 million from Absa Bank Kenya as part of its sponsorship for the European Tour-sanctioned event.
This is part of the two-year Sh150 million sponsorship package announced by the bank last year before the open.
This year, Absa marks 10 years since it started sponsoring the Open, eight years (from 2012 to 2018) as the title sponsor, a period characterised by progressive development and greater appreciation of golf among ordinary Kenyans.
Over the same period, Kenya Open has grown from a little-known tournament into a first-rate event that is now part of the prestigious European tour.
Speaking during the sponsorship announcement, Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori said: “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.”
In addition to this sponsorship, Absa Bank has further committed to reward the top five Kenyan pros who will be participating in the tournament, each receiving sponsorship worth Sh250, 000.
Any of the Absa-sponsored Kenyan golfers who make it to the top 20 after the first two rounds in the 2020 Open, will take home Sh500, 000, while those who make it to the top 10 after the final round of the tournament will receive an additional token of Sh1 million each.
The packages for the Kenyan pros were announced in November last year when the bank committed to sponsor nine Kenyan pros and one amateur to successfully participate in the just-concluded Safari Tour series. The benefitting pros include the Professional Golfers of Kenya captain John Wangai, Eric Ooko, Riz Charania, Simon Ngige, Kopan Timbe, David Wakhu, Jastas Madoya, Mohit Mediratta, and youngster Mathew Wahome.
Apart from the pros sponsorship throughout the Safari Tours, the bank has also organised several junior golfers’ clinics to mentor upcoming players through interactions with top professionals in a bid to cultivate interest in the sport among the youth and to grow their talent.
“As a brand, we believe in connecting people’s dreams to the financial resources they need to achieve their aspirations, which is in line with our brand purpose of bringing possibilities to life,” Awori said. “Our engagement with KOGL is rooted on a mutual agenda of expanding the opportunities available in the golfing arena. We believe that such growth will in return reflect on the performance of the economy.”
Speaking at the event, Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) Deputy Tournament Director Francis Okwara, said: “Absa Bank Kenya remains a pivotal partner for the Magical Kenya Open; their continued support is a clear indication of their commitment to the growth and development of the sport of golf in the country. As the bank embarks on its growth agenda under the new brand, it is our belief that we will continue working together to make the tournament an even bigger attraction.”
Last year, 22-year-old Italy's Guido Migliozzi won the tournament receiving Euros 183,330 (Sh.20.5 million) as the tournament's winner while all pros who finished in the top ten took home at least Sh2.5 million each.
On his part, KOGL Chairman, Peter Kanyago, lauded Absa for its continued support of the Kenya Open through the years; adding that he looks forward to a deepened partnership. “We are cognizant that to reach where we are today would not have been possible without the gracious support of partners and sponsors such as Absa Bank Kenya. We are truly grateful to Jeremy and the entire team at Absa for the support they have continued to accord us through the years and look forward to a greater engagement going into the future’’ said Kanyago.