Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, others headed to Turkey after Ryder Cup ends
Unofficial event with eight top players will offer $1.5 million to winner and will be staged during the Fall Series on the PGA Tour. Woods reportedly signs on for three-year association with Turkish airline sponsoring the mini-tournament.
Never let it be said that prominent golfers are unwilling to visit any locale, no matter how relatively unknown or remote, in order to chase down a guaranteed paycheck.
A huge portion of the two projected 2012 Ryder Cup teams, including Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, have signed on to play in a new match-play event nine days after the Ryder, to be staged in Turkey, of all places.
It took about 10 seconds before it was fast dubbed a Turkey Shoot.
According to a detailed European report, the eight-man field will play for a $5.3 million purse at the new Turkish Airways World Golf Finals, with $1.5 for the winner and $1 million to the runner-up.
The field also will feature Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson and Justin Rose. Even the seventh- and eight-place finishers in the four-day event are assured $300,000.
Steve Stricker and Martin Kaymer turned down the offer to play. The field was formulated based on invitations offered off the world ranking the week before the Masters was played in April.
The tournament will be played on the Antalya coast and is designed to position the nation as a golf travel destination.
Sure to raise eyebrows, the event will take place Oct. 9-12, which is a Tuesday through Friday, to lessen the impact on the PGA and European tour events scheduled that week – the Frys.com Open outside San Jose and the Portuguese Masters.
According to the Tuesday report in The Telegraph, Woods has signed a three-year contract to play in the event and established an endorsement deal with the host airline.
Turkey has bigger targets on its mind beyond the golfers, too.
Said the report: “As it bids for the 2020 Olympics, Turkey is determined to prove its ability to host big sporting occasions and, indeed, the biggest sporting superstars. Golf will be reintroduced at the Olympics in 2016 and Woods is an influential figure to have on side.”
Woods, who has three wins in his last seven starts, has not yet confirmed his participation by listing the event on his website schedule and an email sent by CBSSports.com to his management was not immediately returned.
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