By Enock Muchinjo
THE flagship Zimbabwe Open golf tournament is set to bounce back next year, four years after it was scrapped following the dearth of sponsorship as the
country’s economic crisis dealt a severe knock to sport.
Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association (ZPGA) president Morgan Shumba told IndependentSport this week that the association had made huge strides in raising US$1 million to sponsor the Open.
“I am very confident that the Open will be back next year and we would have raised at least a larger fraction of that amount by the time of the tournament,” Shumba said.
The Zimbabwe Open was last staged in 2001 when the sponsors of the flagship tournament had problems paying champion Darren Fichardt and other winners their prize money because foreign currency was scarce.
“We are also planning to host the Open two weeks before the Sun City tour in South Africa so that the internationals who would have come to play there will participate in the Zimbabwe Open on their way to Sun City,” Shumba said. “We would also want the tournament to be played in Victoria Falls in order to attract more foreign participation as people will also come to see the falls.”
In the just-ended ZPGA season, only nine tournaments were played compared to 16 last year. Shumba said the decrease in the number of tournaments deprived golfers of the chance to gain enough points required to earn places on the money-spinning Southern Africa Sunshine Tour.
According to Shumba, the annual general meeting of the association will be held in January. The auditing of the ZPGA accounts and constitution amendments delayed the much-awaited meeting where a new president and executive will be elected.