Let’s backtrack a little. The Turkish Airlines Open was scheduled to go as planned as late as Oct 27.
However, officials of the European Tour were all set to cancel it last week due to unprecedented scenario. The terrorist activity we saw earlier this year has played its part. Naturally, players are scared. So, it’s really a big deal to know that a tournament is going on. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
The decisions were made last minute. It was indeed a dramatic behind the scene scenario. The CEO of the European Tour made a last minute trip to Turkey and met with the Foreign Affairs minister and the British Consulate before announcing that the tournament will be on as planned. They gained the confidence literally on the last day.
As far as the safety of the players was concerned, they arranged 2 charter flights that kept the players safe. The Ataturk Airport in Turkey was the site of the terrorist attack in June, which killed 36 people. The players were safely moved to a private terminal in Antalya via another plane.
Despite the measures taken by the organizers of the event, Patrick Reed and Rory Mcilroy pulled out of the event. Reed had to pull out considering US issued warnings to Americans travelling to Turkey. However, Mcilroy is from Northern Ireland. He had a deal in which he is supposed to get 7 figure amounts for his appearance. A private jet was also offered to him for his travel. According to him, winning $10 million from a recent tournament made his decision easier for him.
But Mcilroy has been met with criticism for his sudden decision. The officials said that he overreacted. Things happen everywhere on a daily basis. And Turkey wasn’t particularly under attack. Everything was under control and the organizers went out of their ways to ensure the safety of the players. Given that organizers are unhappy about him pulling out like that.