Magical Kenya Open first round to go on without TV coverage
Local golfers pose for a photo at Karen Golf Club on February 24, 2021 ahead of the Magical Kenya Open 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The opening round of the European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open set for today will go on without televised coverage due to logistical difficulties.

The event will still go on as planned, with European Tour Productions (ETP) confident of restoring world feed coverage for the final three rounds.

“Due to intervening facility logistical difficulties beyond our control, we will, unfortunately, be unable to deliver live world feed coverage of the first day of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker on Thursday 18th March 2021. We are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible, and hope to be in a position to deliver live coverage to you on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as normal. We will of course keep you updated with any relevant developments,” said the European Tour in a statement to broadcasters.

The tournament is the first of two European Tour events, with the Karen Country Club also playing host to the Kenya Savannah Classic starting Tuesday, March 23 to Friday, March 26.

“The tournament will get underway as planned. If possible we will do our best to provide news coverage with the few facilities we have, so please look out for media hub alerts as ever. We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused,” ETP added. 

Once TV broadcast is sorted, viewers in Kenya will have the chance to watch their favourite golfers square off against some of the world’s best through mini-viewing centres across the country.

Leading television broadcaster KTN News will beam live proceedings of the global showpieces for five hours a day once TV coverage is back.

Magical Kenya Open first round to go on without TV coverage
Amateur golfer Mutahi Kibugu in action during the Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship at Sigona Golf Club in Kiambu county, October 19, 2018. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

These locations include Vet Lab, Muthaiga, Sigona, Limuru, Royal, Kiambu, Railways, Golf Park and Ruiru. Others are in Thika, Nanyuki, Nyeri, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kericho, Kitale, Kakamega, Nyanza, Nyali, Vipingo, Malindi, Mombasa and Karen.

“The centres are located in 24 golf clubs across the country. The competitions will take place on different days during the period that the Kenya Open and the Savannah Classic will be held, the winners will be showered with various merchandises,” KBL Senior Brand Manager Reserve, Catherine Maribei told The Standard Sport.

Muthaiga Golf Club’s Mutahi Kibugu, one of the six amateurs who was to play at this year’s Kenya Open has withdrawn from the tournament after his caddy tested positive for COVID-19.

In golf, a caddie (or caddy) is the person who carries a player’s bag and clubs, and gives the player advice and moral support.

The tournament has attracted five former champions including the 2017 winner, Kenyan born Aaron Rai of the United Kingdom.

Others are Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden, Haydn Porteous of South Africa and the Italian duo of Lorenzo Gagli and Guido Migliozzi.

This year’s tournament will also be different in that players, caddies, officials and the media will be subjected to operate from a bubble due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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