McIlroy Blasted for Turkish Open Exit
Either Rory McIlroy is the most concerned person around, or he just does whatever he feels like.
For the second time in the past four months, McIlroy, ranked No. 3 in the world and the current FedEx Cup champion, pulled out of a high-profile tournament at the last minute because of safety concerns.
The tournament is being played in Antalya at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort. Last week, a car exploded in the parking lot of a government building in Antayla. Although Turkey has seen multiple attacks of terrorism in the last 1-1/2 years, government officials believed the explosion might have been just a malfunction and not a bomb. Ten people suffered minor injuries from flying glass.
Earlier in October, three rockets were fired into the Antalya region from a “mountainous area” nearby. The rockets were thought to be intended for a ship anchored off the coast, but instead hit a building used by fishermen. There were no casualties, as the building was unoccupied at the time.
Ahmet Agaoglu, the president of the Turkish Golf Federation, said he learned of McIlroy’s withdrawal via media reports.
“There are things happening everywhere in the world. If they are afraid of such things there is no safe place in the world,” Agaoglu said
“This is one of the major golfing events in Europe and I think they have to respect the sponsors because they are investing huge money. Pulling out is not the correct approach. You can be a superstar, an excellent golfer and sit on top of the rankings but to be an athlete you need something more.”
The president praised Tiger Woods’ way of dropping out. Woods emailed Agaoglu and apologized an hour before announcing it publicly.
McIlroy had been offered a fee of £1 million and the use of a private jet to play. His image had heavily dominated TV commercials and print ads.
McIlroy previously pulled out of the Summer Olympics late in the process for fears of the Zika virus. The World Health Organization reported that zero Zika cases were reported during the two-week athletic exhibition.