Rory McIlroy withdrew from this week’s Turkish Airlines Open recently for reasons he said are “obvious.” The obvious reasons are the constant bombings Turkey has undergone in the past year. According to Golf Channel, the volume has been turned up in recent weeks, which led to McIlroy’s withdrawal.
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Turkey, advising Americans to “avoid travel to Southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.” Earlier this week a car explosion injured a dozen people in Antalya, the host city for next week’s event.
It doesn’t stop there. Two weeks ago, Antalya was hit with two missiles.
Rocket attacks in the Turkish city of Antalya have raised serious questions about the European Tour’s $7 million Turkish Airlines Open, which is set to take place in the resort city from Nov. 3-6.
Turkish news agency Dogan said two missiles were fired from a mountainous area at the highway between the city of Antalya and the resort town of Kemer at around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, hitting a fishing company’s shop.
McIlroy is not the only top-10 golfer who will not be in attendance, though. Henrik Stenson and Patrick Reed both pulled out of the first European Tour Race To Dubai playoff event as well.
Both are European Tour members, and Stenson is No. 1 in the Race to Dubai (the European Tour’s version of the FedEx Cup). Reed is No. 44.
Only McIlroy (2012, 2014 and 2015) and Stenson (2013) have won the Race to Dubai in the last four seasons. McIlroy is No. 3 currently behind Stenson and Danny Willett, who is the only one of the three that will play in Turkey.
“It’s going to be tight all the way to the end, and that’s the way we like it,” said Stenson on Sunday before withdrawing. Nobody gains more from McIlroy and Stenson bowing out of Turkey than Willett.
“I guess it’s out of my hands,” McIlroy said to reporters Sunday. “I took the decision not to go to Turkey next week. Those boys can battle it out. If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai, that’s great. If not, they’ve had big wins over the course of the season. They’ve played well — two major championships. I’m OK with that.”
He said that before knowing Stenson would WD. You have to wonder if Willett will be next or if he will carry on with the event knowing what risks lie ahead.