Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy pulls out of golf tournament in Turkey over security fears

Rory McIlroy is understood to have security concerns about the Turkish Open
Rory McIlroy is understood to have security concerns about the Turkish Open

By Joanne Fleming

Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from the Turkish Open following recent terrorist rocket attacks.

The world number two informed European Tour officials of the decision on Saturday.

McIlroy is understood to have security concerns surrounding the first of the three Final Series events.

"It was weighing on my mind and I slept a lot better knowing that I'd made a decision," McIlroy told AFP news agency. "I gave it a lot of thought, basically all week. The fact that I have won the FedEx Cup this year and that I have won the Race to Dubai before made the decision a little bit easier."

More: Rory accepts missing Turkey could cost him Race to Dubai

The golfing ace had spoken of his desire to win at least one of the tour's last three events this season in Shanghai, Turkey and Dubai. However, a third consecutive Race to Dubai title now looks out of his hands.

The £5.7million Turkish Airlines Open will be held at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort in Antalya. The event was called into question earlier this month after rocket attacks in the tourist region. Turkish media reported that two rockets were fired - one hitting a fishing company storage house from a mountainous area near Antalya.

An explosion in a car parked outside the Antalya Trade and Industry Chamber also injured around a dozen people on Tuesday.

Following McIlroy's withdrawal, a spokesman for the European Tour told Press Association Sport: "We respect all decisions made by our members in relation to competing in tournaments.

"In terms of next week's Turkish Airlines Open, we are looking forward to the tournament and the start of this year's Final Series."

McIlroy finished joint fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday, but trails Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson by more than a million points after the Open champion was joint second in Shanghai to overtake Danny Willett in the standings. "I guess it's out of my hands," McIlroy said. "I took the decision not to go to Turkey next week and those boys can battle it out. If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai that's great. But if not, I think over the course of the season they have had big wins and played well. They are two major champions, so I'm okay with that."

Earlier this year McIlroy was one of 20 players to withdraw from competing at the Olympic Games, citing fears about the Zika virus.

His former fiancee, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, is the face of Turkish Airlines and receives sponsorship from the company.

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