THE Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association (ZPGA) and the Harare City Council have partnered in the revival of the Harare Open golf tournament, which is expected to make a return on the local golfing calender next month after a four-year absence with a lucrative prize fund of $20 000 on offer.
BY GARISH PHIRI/DANIEL NHAKANISO
Formerly known as the Golden Pilsener Harare Open, the tournament was held between 2011 and 2014 before its demise after Delta Beverages withdrew its sponsorship.
The tournament which is expected to go a long way in marketing the capital city is set to be held at Chapman Golf Club from August 9 to10.
Speaking at the tournament’s official launch, Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, who is also a golf enthusiast, said his council was delighted to partner ZPGA in hosting the tournament which he believes is set to enhance the city’s status and the local sport as well.
“Let me first thank my predecessor mayor Much (Muchadeyi) Masunda under whose council leadership this tournament was crafted. I’m very proud to be among those giving birth to this new idea in taking it forward,” he said.
Manyenyeni cited examples of South African European Tour co-sanctioned tournaments such as the Jo’burg Open, Tshwane Open which have thrived due to partnerships between the Sunshine and European Tours and local authorities in that country.
“Among the very top high-profile tournaments in neighbouring South Africa, are tournaments that are hugely successful are events such as the Johannesburg Open, Tshwane Open and the South Africa Open which are projects of the municipalities in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. Let me also share that apart from the geographical location of them being in South Africa, these three tournaments are actually European Tour tournaments, attracting the world’s best golfers,” he said.
Manyenyeni said the Harare Open had the potential to grow into one of the country’s biggest events and generate revenue for the country’s economy like what has been happening in South Africa.
“This Harare Open will do the same in the very near future. These events bring in millions of dollars into South Africa, its economy and developing their local golfers. I challenge future leaders of this city not to miss this opportunity. This Harare Open will attract top best golfers. With this launch, I wish to assure you that what we are launching is set to be a million-dollar global project which this city and country will be proud of,” he said.
ZPGA president, Gary Thompson said his association was overwhelmed with the gesture by the Harare City Council which he said would go a long way in demystifying the belief that the sport of golf was a preserve for the elite.
“As golfers we don’t see ourselves just in one sphere, everything else all beats around. We love the beauty and the talent in the sport. We think golf has been under-branded and under-played. People see it as an elite sport. This tour will bring people together and we are grateful,” he said.