European Tour

Willett downplays Turkish Open security fears

2016-11-02 17:23
Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Antalya - Masters champion Danny Willett has brushed aside any security fears in travelling with his young family to compete in this week's Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya.

The world No 10 is the highest ranked player contesting the first of the tour's "Final Three" series of big money playoff events.

The Turkish tournament has been hit by first Tiger Woods' pull out last month and then Sunday's announcement by Rory McIlroy to withdraw over security concerns.

Also missing the $7 million tournament at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort are world No 4 Henrik Stenson and USA Ryder Cup winning hero Patrick Reed.

In total 13 of the top-18 on the Race to Dubai have withdrawn.

Up to three rockets fired by unknown assailants on October 15 in the Antalya region hit a roadside fishmonger, causing no casualties, reports said.

Although the attacks took place some 90 kilometres from the tournament venue, they prompted officials to seek security reassurances.

But Willett said he had "no fears" of playing in Turkey after talks with the European Tour's CEO Keith Pelley.

"It's one of those things where I committed myself to this tournament quite early on, so I was always going to play," added the Englishman.

"Of course, there is a lot of things at risk but if the officials involved say it's okay then we were always going to come down here to Turkey.

"Basically, I was only going to pull out if the tournament was not going to go ahead.

"We're down here now and there is no sign of anything and in and around here everything is lovely, and hopefully it stays that way."

Another player turning up is triple major winner Padraig Harrington.

"I seriously considered about playing this week in Turkey," he said.

"But for me, I played golf all through the 80s and the 90s, the late 80s and the 90s, I played most of my amateur career, and I was happy to travel up to Northern Ireland where they would have also said they had troubles, as they called it; issues.

"I don't know if that makes you kind of - kind of gives you a little bit more confidence, maybe.

"It might be a false confidence but you understand that there's a much bigger picture than you as an individual, and so yeah, from those experiences, I've never really mind travelling anywhere in the world."

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