Turkish Airlines Open: Padraig Harrington questions withdrawals

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington's victory at the Portugal Masters in October was his first European Tour title since 2008

Players who pulled out of this week's Turkish Airlines Open because of security concerns may have over-reacted, says three-time major winner Padraig Harrington.

World number three Rory McIlroy withdrew following last month's missile attacks in the Antalya region, which hosts the tournament.

It will feature only three of the top 10 players in the Race to Dubai.

"There's a lot of scaremongering," said 45-year-old Irishman Harrington.

"They have to put more security in and pay attention, but is it more dangerous here than anywhere else? I'm not sure."

The leading 70 players in the Race to Dubai were eligible for the Turkish Airlines Open starting on Thursday, but the withdrawals mean the field goes down as far as Sweden's Pelle Edberg, who is ranked 102nd.

Harrington, who is 43rd in the standings, said he encountered no problems when he played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, amid fears of the Zika virus, and in Northern Ireland, during the Troubles.

"That was a big factor cited in not going to Rio, safety reasons, and how wrong were they there?" he said.

"I've tended to travel and play around the world because I did it in the late 80s and early 90s in Ireland and we had our troubles in Ireland.

"I played a lot of golf in Northern Ireland during that period and I remember other golfers from down south saying 'you're mad going up there'.

"You couldn't convince people who hadn't gone there and experienced it for themselves that it was a great place to go."

Englishmen Danny Willett, Tyrrell Hatton and Lee Westwood are the only players in the top 10 who will play at the Regnum Carya Resort.

Second-placed Willett, the Masters champion, will regain top spot from Sweden's Henrik Stenson by finishing outright fifth or higher.

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