Rory McIlroy to skip Turkish Airlines Open after attacks, putting dent in Race to Dubai hopes

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy to skip Turkish Airlines Open after attacks, putting dent in Race to Dubai hopes

Euro Tour

Rory McIlroy to skip Turkish Airlines Open after attacks, putting dent in Race to Dubai hopes

Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the Turkish Airlines Open amid mounting fears over security in the region.

The world No. 3 would not go into detail on the reasons for his withdrawal but seemed to indicate recent incidents in the area are to blame.

“I think it’s obvious,” McIlroy said.

Turkey is suffering from its close proximity to the war in Syria, with a number of security incidents in the Antalya region recent weeks. The Turkish Airlines Open is being staged at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya.

Ten people were injured after an explosion occurred last Tuesday outside a chamber of commerce building in Antalya. On October 14, rockets were fired from a mountainous area toward a highway connecting Antalya and nearby Kemer on Turkey’s southern coast. A dozen people were injured.

In August, a roadside bomb exploded near the same highway, wounding three soldiers. Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), a splinter group of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed responsibility for that attack.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has told civilian family members of its Istanbul consulate staff to leave Turkey because of increasing terrorist threats. A travel warning announced on Oct. 29 said: “The Department of State made this decision based on security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.”

McIlroy’s decision puts a serious dent in his effort to win his fourth European money title, the Race to Dubai, in the last five years. The $7 million Turkish Airlines Open is the third-to-last tournament on this year’s European schedule, and the first event of the Tour’s lucrative Final Series. The four-time major winner is currently third on the European Tour money list, 1,019,135 points behind British Open champion Henrik Stenson, and 242,252 points behind Masters winner Danny Willett.

McIlroy may be too far back of either player when he arrives in Dubai for the DP World Championship, the final event on the 2016 European Tour calendar.

“The fact I’ve won the FedEx Cup this year, won the Race to Dubai before, made the decision a little easier,” McIlroy said.

Shane Lowry has also withdrawn from the tournament and Patrick Reed is no longer on the field list either.

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