Karen country club
This week, the European Tour published their 2019 international schedule, and it includes a total of 48 tournaments in 31 countries across five continents. The Kenya Open Golf Championship, which was part of the European Challenge Tour from 1991 to 2018, now features on the main European Tour 2019 schedule and is slotted for March 14-17, 2019 at the Karen Country Club.
All 47 events, including the Kenya Open, will contribute to the Race to Dubai points and with that a place to participate in the final, 48th event of the Tour, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November 2019.
The European Tour 2019 schedule includes eight premier events that form the Rolex Series, each of these has a total prize kitty of at least $7m (Sh714m) and winners typically take home about Sh120 million. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship joins the Rolex Series in 2019. It will be played in mid-January, a week before the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Saudi international form the ‘Desert Swing’ of the European Tour.
Saudi Arabia announced that their event would be used as part of their Vision 2030 strategy, which seeks to showcase leisure and tourism industries, a move away from their reliance on oil and gas. The goals of the Saudi Arabia event are similar to those of the Kenya Open, which seeks to showcase Kenya as a golf tourism destination using the platform provided by the European Tour.
The Tour is broadcast live in more than 150 countries around the globe every week and to over 490 million homes.
The Oman Open and the Qatar Masters will be played in late February and early March, in the fortnight before the Kenya Open.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in July remain as part of the Rolex Series alongside the BMW PGA Championship, the Italian Open, the Turkish Airlines Open and the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player. The BMW PGA has been moved from its traditional spot in May to a date in September. According to Golf World, this change of date will avoid “scheduling conflicts with the US PGA Tour and will most likely improve the quality of field at Wentworth”. According to European Tour CEO Keith Pelley, the ever changing global golf calendar provided the opportunity to move the BMW PGA Championship to a more favourable date in autumn. “Wentworth Club is an iconic location in the realm of British sport, and the BMW PGA Championship is always hugely popular with the public,” he said. “Over 110,000 spectators attend the event over the course of the week..”
Other events that have moved dates include the Italian Open, from June to October and the Open de France also from June to October whilst the Andalucia Valderrama Masters moves from October to June.
Three events on the European Tour 2019 schedule will include women professionals. They include GolfSixes, a new innovative format, the Trophee Hassan II tournament in Morocco and the Vic Open in Australia — a new event on the Tour schedule.
Commenting on the 2019 European Tour schedule, the Tour CEO Keith Waters said the Tour was truly global. “We are delighted with our 2019 International schedule, which illustrates precisely what we are all about; namely a Tour which delivers a significant breadth and scope of global coverage in addition to taking a leading role in innovation and transformation,” he said. “Our grateful thanks go to our co-sanctioning partners at the Asian Tour, the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour, in addition to the many sponsors, partners and promoters we work with in so many different countries to deliver these world-class events.”