ANTALYA, Turkey -- The inaugural Turkish Airlines World Golf Final – whose eight-man field includes Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – is scheduled to begin on schedule Tuesday, despite continued violence in southern Turkey, tournament officials said Monday.
The Turkish military has been firing across Turkey’s southern border into Syria for a week now in response to bomb from Syria that landed in the southeastern Turkish border town of Akcakale, according to Reuters. Syrian rebels control considerable territory in northern Syria near the Turkish border and are actively battling the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrians aren’t believed to be firing into Turkey on purpose, but the Turkish government has repeatedly said it would retaliate against any attacks on its people.
The tournament is being played in Antalya, a popular Turkish vacation spot on the southweastern coast several hundred miles away from the military action. It is an unofficial event, so the earnings won’t count on any money list and no world ranking points will be awarded.
It features eight world-class players, including McIlroy, Woods, Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan. The $5.3 million prize fund includes $1.5 million for the winner and $300,000 for te last-place finisher in the four-day event, which kicks off Tuesday and ends on Friday. Organizers said the event is timed so as not to distract from the weekend of the Portugal Masters on the European Tour and the Frys.com Open on the PGA Tour, the second event in the Fall Series.
The Turkish Airlines World Golf Final is being played at Antalya Golf Club in nearby Belek, which last week also hosted the World Amateur Team Championship. The United States team, led by U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox, won that event, which has long been a staple on the global amateur calendar. These events are part of a big push by the Turkish government to raise its global sports profile in hopes of landing the Olympics and other world-class sporting events.