Back in early summer, Rory McIlroy decided to forgo playing in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio due to concerns about the Zika virus. Now, he has decided to skip the Turkish Airlines Open—to be held later this week—due to safety issues of a different sort. There have been a number of bomb attacks in Turkey the last year or so, generally attributed to Kurdish rebels of Islamic extremists, with one last week in the city of Antalya where the tournament is to be held.
When pushed for an explanation in Shanghai after the completion of the WGC-HSBC Champions event (where he finished T4), McIlroy responded, “I think it’s obvious,” according to the AP.
By skipping the event in Turkey, which is the third-to-last tournament in the European Tour’s “Race to Dubai,” McIlroy, currently third in the standings for the big end-of-year prize, is all but conceding any chances to win. (Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson, this year’s Masters and Open Championship victors, respectively, have a big lead.) But McIlroy seems okay with that.
“I guess it’s out of my hands,” he said. “I took the decision not to go to Turkey next week. Those boys can battle it out. If I have somewhat of a chance going into Dubai, that’s great. If not, they’ve had big wins over the course of the season. They’ve played well—two major championships. I’m OK with that… The fact I’ve won the FedEx Cup this year [photo above] , won the Race to Dubai before, made the decision a little easier.”