A sum of $7 million prize money awaits some of the world’s best golf players as the Turkish Airlines Open starts Nov. 13 in Antalya, the famous Turkish resort city.
“This tournament will reach 510 million households across 39 countries, as 1.5 billion people are expected to watch the play on TV,” said Ahmet Ağaoğlu, head of Turkish Golf Federation, in remarks before the start of the Turkish Airlines Open.
Along with defending champion Victor Dubuisson, the 78 golfers to participate in the tournament, which is being held for a second time this year, include former world number-one Lee Westwood, world number-four Sergio Garcia and 2013 FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson. Three of the competitors are Turkish amateurs.
The tournament at the Maxx Royal Montgomerie course will end on Nov. 16.
Speaking at a press conference at the venue, Garcia said the course in Antalya’s Belek district was awesome.
“It will be a little hard but I believe that I will win,” he said. “I will struggle until the last day.”
However, Westwood also set ambitious goals. “I believe that my recent performance is high,” Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying.
He also said he was hopeful of the future of the young tournament, praising the facilities.
Dubuisson is also determined. “I am really looking forward to returning to Turkey,” said Dubuisson, who beat Tiger Woods and Justin Rose, among others, coming down the stretch at last year’s event.
“The Turkish Airlines Open is where it all started for me and I’m delighted to be able to return to Antalya
and not only re-live those wonderful memories, but hopefully build some more,” he added.
Meanwhile, Darren Clarke’s quest to become the new European Ryder Cup captain has been given a surprise boost with Garcia believing compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez’s lack of English will rule him out of captaincy contention.
Unlike the mess the U.S. Team finds itself in, the vote for the 2016 European Team captaincy at Hazeltine, Minnesota, now seems a clear-cut choice between Clarke and Jimenez, the Tour’s oldest champion.
However Garcia, and a veteran of seven Ryder Cups along with being a vice-captain in 2010, believes the five-man committee to choose a successor to Paul McGinley may rule out Jimenez given his limited grasp of English.
“I have to say I am still savoring the victory a month ago at Gleneagles and haven’t thought much about it, but while Darren and Miguel are both good candidates I am just concerned for Miguel, and worried that his English is not good enough to deal with all the pressure that goes with being a European Team captain,” AFP quoted Garcia as saying.
“I know Miguel has been a good Ryder Cup player and he’s also been a great Ryder Cup vice-captain, but becoming a captain is different,” Garcia said.