Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Turkish Airlines Open: Padraig Harrington, who is there,  questions withdrawals

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington's victory at the Portugal Masters in October was his first European Tour title since 2008
Players who have  pulled out of this week's Turkish Airlines Open because of security concerns may have over-reacted, says three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.
World number three Rory McIlroy withdrew following last month's missile attacks in the Antalya region, which hosts the tournament. So too did American Patrick Reed.
It will feature only three of the top 10 players in the Race to Dubai.
"There's a lot of scaremongering," said 45-year-old Irishman Harrington.
"They have to put more security in and pay attention, but is it more dangerous here than anywhere else? I'm not sure."
The leading 70 players in the Race to Dubai were eligible for the Turkish Airlines Open starting on Thursday, but the withdrawals mean the field goes down as far as Sweden's Pelle Edberg, who is ranked 102nd.
Harrington, who is 43rd in the standings, said he encountered no problems when he played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, amid fears of the Zika virus, and in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles.
"That was a big factor cited in not going to Rio, safety reasons, and how wrong were they there?" he said.
"I've tended to travel and play around the world because I did it in the late 80s and early 90s in Ireland and we had our troubles in Ireland.
"I played a lot of golf in Northern Ireland during that period and I remember other golfers from down south saying 'you're mad going up there'.
"You couldn't convince people who hadn't gone there and experienced it for themselves that it was a great place to go."
Englishmen Danny Willett, Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood are the only players in the top 10 who will play at the Regnum Carya Resort, Turkey this week.
Second-placed Willett, the Masters champion, will regain top spot from Sweden's Henrik Stenson by finishing outright fifth or higher.

The Turkish Airlines Open features a tee box on the roof of a villa

Last Updated: 01/11/16 4:10pm
A look at one of the most unusual tee positions on the 16th hole at the Turkish Airlines Open
A look at one of the most unusual tee positions on the 16th hole at the Turkish Airlines Open this week.
European Tour stars will face the unusual prospect of teeing off from the roof of a villa as the Race to Dubai Final Series tees off at this week's Turkish Airlines Open.
The picturesque Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort in Antalya hosts the event for the first time, and tournament officials took the decision to construct a new back tee on top of one of the many holiday homes situated around the course.
The villa behind the 16th was built where the original back tee used to be, but tournament officials took the decision to construct a new tee on the roof which adds 34 yards to the par-four, which now measures 463 yards.
Tournament director Miguel Vidaor told the European Tour: "Obviously it's the first time Regnum Carya Golf and Resort Spa has hosted a European Tour event and we took a look at the course and how we might set it up.
"The original 16th hole was altered during the construction of the villas and the new tee on the roof is pretty much where the old tee used to be."



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