Rory McIlroy will not play in this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, the first of the three-event European Tour Final Series.
McIlroy did not specify a reason for pulling out of the 78-player, no-cut event. However, in light of recent attack in Antalya, the resort city which hosts the event, McIlroy seemed to allude to them in a cryptic explanation of his rationale.
“I think it’s obvious,” McIlroy said Sunday after the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, where he finished tied for fourth place.
Turkey has been the target of a number of attacks and terrorist bombings in the last two years, with those attacks recently targeting the tournament’s host city and surrounding area. The European Tour had given thought to cancelling the event altogether, which will be held at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort.
McIlroy is third in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings heading into the three-event series. He will be hard-pressed to win a third-consecutive Race to Dubai title, as well its $1.5 million bonus to the winner, by missing this kickoff event.
“I guess it’s out of my hands,” McIlroy said. “I took the decision not to go to Turkey next week. Those boys can battle it out. If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai, that’s great. If not, they’ve had big wins over the course of the season. They’ve played well – two major championships. I’m OK with that.”
McIlroy said the decision became less complicated knowing he just won his first FedEx Cup title on the PGA Tour, hauling in two wins in the four-event playoff series and notching the $10 million first-place prize.
“The fact I’ve won the FedEx Cup this year, won the Race to Dubai before,” McIlroy said, “made the decision a little easier.”