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I played during Troubles so no fear of Turkey: Harrington

By Phil Casey

Published 03/11/2016

Padraig Harrington is heading for the Turkish Airlines Open
Padraig Harrington is heading for the Turkish Airlines Open

Rory McIlroy may have pulled out of the Turkish Airlines Open but Padraig Harrington said he had no qualms about playing - just as he had no problem with playing in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The £5.7million event which starts today has been hit by a spate of withdrawals, including that of headline attraction McIlroy, due to safety fears surrounding the first of the three Final Series events.

The European Tour is understood to have been on the verge of cancelling the tournament last week after an explosion in a car parked outside the Antalya Trade and Industry Chamber injured around a dozen people.

Dubliner Harrington said he encountered no problems when he played at the Rio Olympics amid fears of the Zika virus - Ulsterman McIlroy pulled out - nor in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

"That was a big factor cited in not going to Rio, safety reasons, and how wrong were they there?" said the three-time Major winner.

"I played a lot of golf in Northern Ireland and I remember other golfers from down south saying, 'you're mad going up there'.

"You couldn't convince people who hadn't gone there and experienced it for themselves that it was a great place to go."

Four-time Major champion McIlroy has hurt his Race to Dubai hopes by not taking part.

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