US$100,000 Jamaica Open set for December 6-9
Acting Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board Donnie Dawson is hopeful that the Jamaica Open can be a platform from which Jamaica can further enhance its reputation as a growing golf destination. Dawson was addressing the media and stakeholders at the launch of the 51st staging of the Open at the Caymanas Golf Course in St. Catherine on Tuesday.
The US$100,000 tournament is set to tee off on December 6 and conclude on December 9 at the Half Moon Golf Course in St. James and has already attracted about 50 professional golfers including last year’s runner-up Tom Gillis and the talented senior professional Olin Browne.
First prize is US$17,000 while the winner of the Senior category walks away with US$8000.
“We had the BMW Classic earlier this year and it’s a step in the right direction,” Dawson said. “Although it’s the Latin American PGA tour we’re still getting recognition as a golfing destination. I am hopeful that we can use the Jamaica Open as a platform to catapult us even more.
“This is the 51st anniversary of the Open which is a milestone in itself. There are not many tournaments throughout the Caribbean or throughout the region that are celebrating this type of legacy. We have the facilities, we have some of the finest golf courses in the Caribbean, so golf is paramount to what we do and how we promote Jamaica. As I have always said I don’t want people to play golf while they are in Jamaica, I want people to come to Jamaica to play golf.”
The 50 registrations received so far is an indication of the growing interest in playing golf in Jamaica. President of the Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) Peter Chin said the number represents the most they have ever received with almost a month to go before the tournament begins.
About 30 of those registered so far are first time entrants, ‘names they have never seen before’ Chin said.
He attributes some of those numbers to the fact that the Open is now a qualifier for the BMW Jamaica Classic. The top three finishers and the top amateur player will gain automatic berths to the Jamaica Open as well as the top Jamaican junior player.