Golf: Rory McIlroy pulls out of Turkish Open amid security fears

Golfer Rory McIlroy said he is pulling out of the Turkish Airlines Open over security fears.
Golfer Rory McIlroy said he is pulling out of the Turkish Airlines Open over security fears.PHOTO: REUTERS

Shanghai (AFP) - World No. 3 Rory McIlroy has made a late decision to skip this week's Turkish Airlines Open because of fears over security.

The four-time Major winner confirmed his pullout on Sunday from the first of the Tour's "Final Three" series of play-off events after finishing fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Sunday behind winner Hideki Matsuyama.

Asked by AFP if a rocket attack two weeks ago in the region which hosts the event had been behind his withdrawal, McIlroy said: "I think it's obvious. I gave it a lot of thought, basically all week.

"It was sort of a weight on my mind and I felt like slept a lot better last night knowing that I'd made a decision."

The player's management had informed the European Tour on Saturday night that McIlroy would not travel to the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort, Antalya, for the US$7 million (S$9.74 million) tournament which starts on Thursday.

It is the second huge blow to the tournament. Tiger Woods was originally on the entry list but withdrew a month ago after electing to delay his comeback from injury until December.

McIlroy's withdrawal leaves Masters champion Danny Willett, who slumped to 75th place in Shanghai, as the top-ranked player in the event.

Willett is seeking to secure the "Race to Dubai" European order of merit crown but fell behind new standings leader Henrik Stenson after the Swede finished second on Sunday.

McIlroy remains third in the standings but has only one event remaining, the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in three weeks time.

"I guess (the Race to Dubai) is out of my hands. That's the thing," said McIlroy Sunday. "If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai, that's great."

McIlroy needs both players to finish well down the fields in their respective remaining tournaments and will almost certainly also need to win in Dubai to have a chance of retaining his European Tour crown for the third consecutive year and fourth time in five years.