By Duncan Mlanjira
Professional Golfers Association of Malawi (PGAMW) courting the corporate world and the public in general for sponsorship of two golfers, Victor Kachepatsonga and Paul Chidale to participate at the Karen Masters 2019 tournament in Nairobi, Kenya from June 27–30 that attracts a grand US$150,000 prize money.
“We have received an outright slot invitation for the two players and already one well-wisher has identified accommodation for them in Nairobi but we are now looking for sponsorship for their flight tickets and upkeep allowances,” said PGAMW president Patridge Shycal.
“We would appreciate any assistance towards that. Cost of air ticket is roughly around US$450 each and a further upkeep allowance, say about US$350 each would suffice.”
Shycal said the 2019 KCB Karen Masters is scheduled to take place at the Karen Country Club where international and local pros will showcase what has made them world class professional golfers.
“This year’s event is fully sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour of South Africa. The KCB Karen Masters has transitioned into a distinctly African tournament, designed to promote the game of golf in Africa and to support local players in their quest to become world class golfers.
“Karen Country Club have partnered with the Sunshine Tour to bring around 100 of their top-ranking players to Karen next month to compete against 32 of Kenya’s finest, as well as some great players from other African countries, to give a field of 152 professional players.
“Sunshine Tour is strictly by invitation because it’s overwhelmingly participated. PGAMW first pleaded with our counterparts, the PGA Kenya, to be given four slots but they have granted us just two which we have offered to Victor and Paul because these two have continuously showed enthusiasm to participate in such high competitive tours.
“Our role as PGAMW is as a coordinating authority but travel and other expenses are supposed to be solely met by the players themselves. But because of their financial incapacity we come in to assist.
“So we are pleading with the corporate world to assist these two players in order to sharpen their skills against world class golfers.“
Last February, Malawian Airlines sponsored a return air ticket for Chidale to participate at the Safari Tour also in Nairobi, Kenya while SEED-CO has donated a subsistence allowance of $400.
PGAMW was established in December 2017 and has already made swift strides in its effort to be the leading professional golf body in Malawi and the southern African region and just last November it successful hosted the first ever-professional golf Tour at Lilongwe Golf Club which dubbed ‘The Warm Heart Pro Tour’.
It attracted 63 golfers from eight African countries and Europe namely Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Portugal.
Early January, a delegation of PGAMW was in Kenya on a partnership and learning tour with the view of having Malawi professionals to be invited to play in the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) and the Safari Tour which is organised by the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL).
For many years, Malawian golfers have been playing as amateurs and that status forbid them from receiving cash prizes but they were entitled to material prizes like golf-related equipment, television sets, microwaves, trophies and other prizes.
But now PGAMW want golfers to earn their salaries from playing golf as it is done in other countries. The Warm Heart Pros Tour is one of the two international tours the association pledges to be hosting annually apart from the local tournaments.