World's top golfers tee off in Belek

World's top golfers tee off in Belek

BELEK, Antalya - Hürriyet Daily News
Worlds top golfers tee off in Belek

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the top two ranked players in men’s golf, lead the star-studded eight-strong bill to race for the big prize at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals. AFP photo

The world’s top eight golfers tee off in Turkey as the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals start in Belek, Antalya today. 

Heavyweights Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the two top-ranked players in the world, lead the pack.

Also on the bill are Charl Schwartzel, the South African who won the Masters in 2011; world number 4, Lee Westwood; number 20, Hunter Mahan; number 15, Matt Kuchar; Englishman Justin Rose; and youngster Webb Simpson, who is fresh from winning the U.S. Open this year. 

The tournament at the PGA Sultan Course in Belek is one of the most lucrative events in the sport, with a total prize of $5.2 million being distributed. 

Big prizes

The winner will get $1,5 million, semifinalists will get $600,000, while fifth- and sixth-place winners will receive $450,000 each. The seventh and eighth placers, the players who have not won a single match in the tournament, still get to pocket $300,000 each. 

For most of the players on the bill, this will be their first performance since last week’s Ryder Cup.

Apart from the tournament’s generous prize money and the prestige, a huge motivation for the Americans will be that they have the chance to avenge their loss to the Europeans at the Ryder Cup. 

The tournament, sponsored by Turkey’s flagship carrier, intends to be one of the premier events outside the PGA and European Tours. The tournament starts with the first round today and will continue with tomorrow’s quarterfinal matches. The semifinal will be held on Oct. 11 and the final is on Oct. 12. 

The tournament is ending on a Friday so that it will not clash with the final stages of the Portugal Masters on the European Tour and the Open on the U.S. PGA Tour, the second event in the Fall Series. 

‘Business class’ event

The World Golf Finals, which is jointly organized by the Turkish Golf Federation and Turkish Airlines, is the latest step in the latter’s sponsorship deals in sports. Turkish Airlines has made several sponsorship deals with high-profile athletes, such as Kobe Bryant and Caroline Wozniacki, and football teams FC Barcelona and Manchester United, but this is the first time the company has invested large amounts in golf. 

Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil had said earlier that this was the first time that the company has been involved in such a big sponsorship event in golf and the sport’s image was also important to attract “business-class clients.” 

The tournament is expected to attract great interest worldwide and will be televised live in more than 50 countries. 

The eight players were scheduled to have a practice round on the course designed by Senior Tour professional Davis Jones yesterday.

US wins World Amateur Team golf title


U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and Chris Williams each shot 2-under 69 on Oct. 7 to help the United States win the rain-shortened World Amateur Team Championship with a record score.
Fox, Williams and Justin Thomas combined for a 54-hole total of 24-under 404. Thomas shot a non-counting 70 on Sunday.

They teamed up to beat Mexico by five strokes at Antalya Golf Club to give the United States it 14th Eisenhower Trophy title.

“It’s fun to win as an individual,” Williams said, “but to win as a team is awesome and it doesn’t get any better than doing it as representative of the USA.”

The Americans also broke the records for 18 and 36 holes.