• "He did not contact me," said federation president Ahmet Agaoglu
• Lee Westwood also said he was 'disappointed' with no Rory
RORY MCILROY | TURKISH AIRLINES OPEN
Rory McIlroy’s decision to withdraw from the Turkish Airlines Open has drawn criticism from tournament organisers and also a Ryder Cup teammate.
The 27-year-old, who pulled out of the European Tour Final Series event late last week, said it was ‘obvious’ why he had taken the decision not to tee it up in Antalya following a succession of rocket attacks in the region in recent weeks.
"There is no safe place in the world" - Ahmet Agaoglu
Patrick Reed also announced his intention to skip the event, while current Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson didn’t have it on his schedule in the first place, instead opting for a week at home before playing in next week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“For those who worry about such things there is no safe place in the world,” president of the Turkish Golf Federation, Ahmet Agaoglu, told Golf Digest.
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“I do not see pulling out of events as the right approach to take. I was a little bit surprised and disappointed to learn that Rory was pulling out in the media.
"He did not contact me" - Ahmet Agaoglu
“He did not contact me. Tiger sent me an email an hour before he announced he was not coming. He apologised. He said how disappointed he was. I am hopeful he will come here to play next year.
“This is the safest city, hotel and golf course in the country. And, at the request of the European Tour we have taken lots of extra measures this week.”
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Meanwhile, Lee Westwood, who is one of only three players in the Race to Dubai top ten playing this week (along with Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton), also shared his thoughts on Rory McIlroy’s decision.
“Yeah, a little bit ,” said Westwood. “Obviously the most high-profile pull-out was probably Rory's, and Rory brings an awful lot to a golf tournament.
"Rory brings an awful lot to a golf tournament" - Lee Westwood
“He's a former world No.1 and defending the money list and he's pretty much taken himself out of that by not playing this week. It's a shame he's not here this week, but I guess he didn't feel the way I feel about the place and the security of it all.”
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Padraig Harrington added: “We had our troubles in Ireland back in the 1980s and 90s.
“I remember people saying, ‘you're mad going up there’ but you would never have a greater welcome than you would there.
“That has made me travel the world and not necessarily think I am the centre of focus in any shape or form when I go places.”
Was Rory McIlroy right to withdraw?
Do you think Rory McIlroy was within his rights to withdraw from the Turkish Airlines Open, given that he was the star name in the field? Leave your thoughts in the 'Comments' section below.