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Why prize money for Magical Kenya Ladies Open should be increased



Why prize money for Magical Kenya Ladies Open should be increased

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Vipingo Ridge chairman and co-founder Alastair Cavanagh has called on organisers of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open to increase the prize money for next year’s edition of the prestigious competition.

Cavanagh said a higher prize money would raise the profile of the DP Tour event and attract the crème-de-la-crème of golf to compete in it.

“We have got the strongest playing field this year compared to the previous year and hopefully, that will continue to grow. We need to push the prize money in the years to come because obviously, other events are also competing. The higher the prize money, the higher the calibre of players you attract so hopefully next year we can push it up a bit,” Cavanagh said.

From a long-term perspective, Cavanagh believes that MKLO should be seeking to rival their male counterparts in the Magical Kenya Open in terms of prestige and prize money.

Kenyan golfer Naomi Wafula during a practice round in Vipingo Ridge. PHOTO/COURTESY.

“We would like it to become one of the main prize money events on the DP Tour circuit. If we can achieve that then it will grow exponentially and we want to rival the men in terms of prize money going, forward,” he said.

The event – the first in a series of 39 events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar – boasts an overall prize fund of Kes 41 million (€300,000).

The third edition of the tournament kicked off on Wednesday with a pro-am event at the PGA Baobab Golf Course at Vipingo Ridge.

The competition proper tees off tomorrow when 96 golfers – including five Kenyans – take to the course over four rounds culminating in the winner being known on Sunday.

World class preparations

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Cavanagh admits that they have gone to great care to keep the course in lush condition, which has seen it accredited by PGA as befitting to host an event of MKLO’s stature.

“Of course, there are a lot of paperwork and requirements you have to meet to get PGA accreditation. It has to be built and maintained to a certain standard, which are global standards…obviously,” he explained.

Cavanagh added: “It is obviously a challenge if you don’t have enough water. The year 2021 was the worst on record and 2022 was around two-thirds of our total rainfall. The last two years have only yielded one year equivalent of rain, which obviously puts a lot of strain on the irrigation system.”

Another hurdle to the growth of MKLO is the dwindling number of corporate sponsors, which has affected the amount of prize money offered to winners.

Cavanagh feels it is time to cast the net wider and rope in international corporates as well.

“We are very lucky to have some big entities as our sponsors…the government of Kenya is obviously our biggest sponsor in terms of prize money. But I think there is sponsor fatigue because everyone is going back to the same corporates for sponsorship. I think we need to cast our net wider and bring in some of the international corporates to help out with the sponsorship,” he said.

Spectators can purchase tickets to the four-day tournament through the online platform which are retailing for KES 500 per day.

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