Everything you need to know - Turkish Airlines Open
Danny Willett will be trying to put himself in pole position for the Race to Dubai title at this week's Turkish Airlines Open.
The Race to Dubai 2016 series kicks off this week at the $7 million prize fund -Turkish Airlines Open hosted by the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort.
The DP World Tour Championship will be the culmination of a new look three-tournament final series which will see the Nedbank Golf Challenge make its debut as the prestigious and crucial penultimate event of the season.
Double Turkish Airlines Open champion Victor Dubuisson will look to successfully defend against a field of 78 players looking to gain momentum going into the Race to Dubai series. Three-time major champion, Padraig Harrington will make an appearance at the event for the first time since 2013. He is a rejuvenated player after his first European victory since 2008 at the Portugal Masters.
Danny Willett confident of his chances
Also challenging for the W will be 2015 Masters champion, Danny Willett who has his eyes set on winning the 2016 Race to Dubai series after coming up short in 2015.
"We've been leading it for a long, long time," Danny said. "Unfortunately last week, I had probably my worst event on Tour for the years I've been on and Henrik finished second, so jumped us.”
"For me, this is a pretty big week. Henrik is not here. He was never scheduled to play anyway. So it gives me a chance to either close that gap, or hopefully leapfrog again and make it really interesting coming down to the last two,” he added.
Tyrell Hatton, a man who everyone seems to be raving about after his winning performance at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship will also look to consolidate his position as a serious Race to Dubai series contender at this week’s event.
Rory Mcllroy, slated to be headlining the field opted out of the event after giving serious thought to the legitimate security concerns regarding the event. “It was weighing on my mind and I slept a lot better knowing that I’d made a decision," McIlroy, who tied for fourth in the WGC-HSBC Champions on Sunday, said.
“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.”
The Antalya area was hit by three rockets earlier this month and the US Department of State issued a travel warning citing, “security information indicating extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent.”
Reed and Woods out; Lipsky to feature
Patrick Reed will also take no part in the event after he pulled out on Sunday. Tiger Woods who had originally planned to play in the event as part of his three-event schedule heading into 2017 will also not be competing. He decided to not play in the event after his withdrawal at the Safeway Open earlier this month citing vulnerability of his game. The only American in the field will be David Lipsky.
Richard Bland who is having the season of his life will make his 400th start on the European Tour this week and the fan favourite Andrew “Beef” Johnston will also feature. European Ryder Cup players, Lee Westwood and Andy Sullivan will round out the strong field vying for the precious 1,065,388 Race to Dubai points.
The first-time host venue of Regnum Carya Golf Resort will pose a true test to the best players of the European Tour. The course is Turkey's first heathland-style course and was designed by the five-time Open champion, Peter Thompson. There will be a big emphasis on tactically plotting around the course and will reward players putting a premium on a good angle of approach with their second shots given that the course has large, fast and heavily contoured green complexes. It has a good mix of free-flowing holes running through a pine forest and is set on undulating sand hills.
The event gets underway at 1230 IST on Thursday morning with Spain's Alejandro Canizares hitting the first tee ball.