In a bid to keep the coronavirus in check, the European Tour has released regulations that will see spectators barred from its two events in Kenya while players and caddies will have to adhere to strict protocols that will include a 10-day movement restriction.
All the players taking part in the Magical Kenya Open and Savannah Classic, plus caddies, will have to reside in a “Bubble”, a term used to refer to select hotels that will be authorized by the Tour officials.
In addition, local players will be required to take a Covid-19 test at least two days before the commencement of the first event – Magical Kenya Open- which is scheduled for 18th to 21st March at Karen Country Club. “No player will be allowed to leave the Bubble in between the events. If you step out, you will be forced to take another Covid 19 test to be readmitted,” Patrick Obath, Safari Tour Tournament Director disclosed.
Consequently, said Obath, the European Tour will pay the players 1000 Euros for each tournament to help them defray costs associated with observing the strict guidelines. “We are going to identify about two hotels and negotiate a reasonable package so as to make it affordable for our players. Observing these protocols is quite expensive and so we thank The European Tour for cushioning our members,” said Obath.
The two tournaments will be held without spectators in line with other European Tour events. Obath however said members of Karen Country Club will be allowed to access the venue but will be limited to the Clubhouse only. “Only players, Caddies, Officials and Media crew will be allowed on the course. Karen Club members can enjoy the action from vantage positions in the Clubhouse.
The two events will be broadcasted internationally through live coverage by the European Tour production team. A total of 156 players are expected to take part. Kenya will be represented by 18 players comprising of 12 professionals and six amateurs.
Last year the tournament was cancelled on two occasions amid rising cases of coronavirus infections globally. Apart from Magical Kenya, the European Tour cancelled 22 events in its 2019/20 calendar.
The 2021 schedule will now feature a minimum of 42 tournaments in 24 countries. The Savannah Classic, which will take place from 23rd to 26th March at Karen Country Club, has been added to the schedule and will be fully sponsored the European Tour.
Meanwhile the Vision 2030 secretariat has set aside Kshs 3 million to support the 15 players who qualified for Magical Kenya Open and The Savannah Classic events through the Safari Tour. Director General Kenneth Mwige said the organization will reward all the players with Kshs 100,000 each for qualifying for the tournament while the remaining funds will be used to pay caddy fees and reward the players who make the cut and the top three finishers.
The players who qualified are Dismas Indiza, Greg Snow, Simon Ngige, David Wakhu, Eric Ooko, C J Wangai, Samuel Njoroge, Jastas Madoya, Edwin Mudanyi, Mathew Omondi, Riz Charania and Jacob Okello. The three non-Kenyan slots went to Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi, Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh and Philip Kasozi from Uganda.