Olawale Ajimotokan in Mongomo, E’Guinea
Equatorial Guinea’s strategic investments in golf is inching toward global recognition after the European Tour hinted it was considering listing the yearly 3e Actuaries Equatorial Guinea Open on its tournament schedule.
The development will come as a big wake up call to Nigeria, which has for over two decades, neglected its National Open Championship and allowed it to slip into comatose.
The Tournament Director for the European Tour, Jose Maria Zamora, was in Mongomo to assess Equatorial Guinea Open Championship, which officially tees off on Thursday with a field of almost 70 golfers from 27 countries including Nigeria.
Zamora, who also doubles as the Assistant Challenge Tour Director of the European Tour and is in charge of the Tours anti doping effort, regulation book and new projects, said yesterday that the visit would provide a platform to assess African players on the possibility of some of them joining the European Tour.
In an exclusive chat with THISDAY in Mongomo, he said that he undertook the visit because of the report he had received about Equatorial Guinea Open and the large number of African golfers that usually attend it.
“You never know where the next Tiger Woods will come from. The idea is to develop golf tournament all over the world and open up to the new places where we can give opportunities to new African players to join the European Tour and make a living. We are assessing Equatorial Guinea Open, its facilities, infrastructure and organisation if there is a possibility the tournament could be part of our schedule in the future. We will be very happy if that happens,’’ Zamora said.
According to him, a tour in Africa can be integrated into the European Tour if it attains a prize and organisation level that matches their expectation, adding afterwards they will be granted world ranking points and an easy pathway to the European Tour.
“To be part of the Euro Tour, a player must become a member via ranking or be an associate member, where he can have his winnings on any event counting towards the ranking, while depending on his position on the ranking, he can get exemption for the following year’’.
Zamora said Nigeria can be listed on the European Tour if the golf federation and local PGA drive sponsorship and formally approach the Tour, which will consider the proposal if the conditions and facilities are suitable.
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