The European Tour, Turkish Golf Federation and ISM today announced the creation of the Turkish Open, which will serve as the next-to-last event on the European Tour's schedule beginning in '13. The event, with a purse of US$7M, will be fully sanctioned by the Tour in a three-year agreement. The 78-man field will play Nov. 7-10, 2013 at the Montgomerie-Maxx Royal course (European Tour). The PA's Phil Casey notes the announcement is "part of continuing attempts to promote Turkey as a golfing destination and boost the country's bid to host the 2020 Olympics" (PA, 10/10). Golfweek's Alex Miceli said, "It’s a big coup for the European Tour and certainly a big coup for Turkey. It’s a three-year deal, so I think that means that at least the playoff scenario will go for at least three years.” Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said the “timing is interesting” for the Turkish Open, as next year "begins the wraparound season" for the PGA Tour. Williams: "Whereas before they may not have had a conflict with the regular Tour event, next year that potential does exist” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 10/10).
GROWING THE GAME: The AP's Doug Ferguson wrote the "best measure of how much golf is growing around the world can be found in Turkey." Having the "biggest names in golf" participate in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals this week, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, "might inspire more interest in the game" in the country (AP, 10/9). Golfweek's Miceli said it is "just amazing how many people" were at first day of the World Golf Final yesterday. It showed "how quickly a sport like golf can become interesting to people who don’t even play it” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/10). In London, Peter Dixon writes the "decent-sized galleries, heavily made up of British expats, enjoyed getting so close to the players and gave no hint of misbehaving." For the most part, "there was more of a garden-party atmosphere around the pristine Sultan Course than a full-on golf tournament" (LONDON TIMES, 10/10).
ROUGH START: In London, James Corrigan noted near the beginning of the World Golf Finals, a photographer claimed that he "had been headbutted" by Turkish Golf Federation President Ahmet Agaoglu. Cihat Unal, who works for a local news agency, "pressed assault charges" against Agaoglu. Unal's glasses "were broken and he immediately attended a police station to file his complaint" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 10/9).