Golf Channel Contributor Alex Miceli is in Turkey this week for the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final. The afternoon matches scheduled for today were suspended due to inclement weather although the morning matches were able to be completed. The afternoon matches will be played on Thursday and Miceli added that it is remarkable to see just how many patrons have shown up to watch 8 of the best players in the world. Tournament organizers have done a great job managing the effort to get the thousands of fans off the course safely.
There is news out of Turkey today with the announcement that for three years starting in 2013, the Turkish Open will be played in November the week before the final event of the season in Dubai. 78 players will compete for a $7 million purse. It is also possible that the Turkish Open will be a part of a four-event stretch to close the European Tour season similar to the FedExCup Playoffs. If this series indeed happens, the four events would likely be the BMW Masters, WGC-HSBC Champions, Turkish Open, and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Miceli has also heard that the European Tour may begin counting the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, and Seve Trophy as official European Tour starts in 2013. Luke Donald had spoken about the need to do this during the Ryder Cup because the PGA TOUR does consider the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup to be official starts. This decision could also make American players reconsider the idea of taking up dual membership on both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour because it would now be easier for elite players to make the minimum starts to fulfill membership requirements.
Two of the three scheduled medal match play rounds have been completed before the thunderstorms arrived and the plan is to begin the third round of matches on Thursday morning. Due to television rights issues, the morning matches will be aired live but the afternoon semifinals will not be aired live because the Portugal Masters – a European Tour event – will be aired live on Thursday.
There are 15 golf courses in the area where the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final is being played and they tend to be 80% full all year long. However, the majority of those players are not from Turkey but instead are from neighboring countries like Russia and Ukraine as people from those places like to vacation in Turkey. The Turkish Golf Federation is working hard to grow interest in the game of golf mostly through the schools and driving ranges.
Right now, there is only one event scheduled to be played in Spain in 2013 whereas there were as many as 6 events in Spain just a few years ago. While it is good that the European Tour has added an event in Turkey, they have still lost events and they are trying to add more events to make up for the Spain events that have been cancelled.
The European Tour is making a strong effort to make it easier for American players to play the required 13 events to claim membership by even considering counting the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, and Seve Trophy as official events. It is also possible that the Turkish Open will allow big name non-European players to compete in the 78-man field if they are European Tour members.