Woods Will Headline New Match-Play Event In Turkey On Heels Of Ryder Cup
Seven of the top 10-ranked golfers in the world will play in a new matchplay event in Turkey, "which will attempt to establish the country as an Olympic destination," according to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. The $5.3M Turkish Airways World Golf Finals will be held "nine days after the Ryder Cup." Golfers expected to compete are Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson, among others. Next year's event intends to offer "the richest first prize in golf -- a mooted $2.5M." It is "understood that as part of a three-year commitment Woods has forged a lucrative 'relationship' with the country's national airline." This unauthorized event has been "received negatively" by both the PGA Tour and the European PGA Tour. However, it will take place from Tuesday to Friday, so the weekend coverage of the Portuguese Masters and the Frys.com Open "will not be overshadowed." As Turkey bids for the 2020 Games, the country "is determined to prove its ability to host big sporting occasions" (TELEGRAPH, 7/3). Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard said the tournament “won't hurt” the country’s bid to host the Olympics. Hoggard: “If they're interested in the Olympics -- and obviously golf will be part of the Olympics going forward -- I think it's a good way to sort of gauge the golf temperature. I went to Abu Dhabi earlier this year for Tiger Woods, not a lot of interest. I mean, you don’t get the buzz you get here.” Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said the event “can't hurt, but if anybody knows the mindset of people who make the decisions on awarding the Olympics, this is not the Olympics being decided by an event that's a one-off in 2016 in the game of golf." Williams said of the IOC, "This is an organization, an event that has -- let’s be honest -- been ripe with corruption in terms of trying to buy bids. So I have no earthly idea if golf is going to have any influence Turkey getting the Olympics in 2020” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 7/3).