Woods reportedly competing in lucrative Turkish match play
- By Ryan Ballengee
- Jul 3, 2012 8:40 AM ET
Tiger Woods has reportedly been lured to Turkey to compete in an unsanctioned event this fall aimed at capturing attention for a bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
The country will stage the Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals in October, a match-play tournament that will not be sanctioned by any tour. It will offer a $5.3 million purse with $1.5 million for the winner and $1 million for second. By 2013, the event hopes to offer $2.5 million to the champion – the richest first-place prize in golf.
Woods has reportedly agreed to a lucrative three-year commitment to the event, featuring an eight-man field including Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, according to the U.K.-based Daily Mail.
The event, which will be officially unveiled during the British Open, will conflict with the Portuguese Masters on the European Tour and the Frys.com Open, which Woods competed in last year, on the PGA Tour. It's Oct. 9-12 dates are two weeks after the Ryder Cup. As a concession to the major tours, the event will run Tuesday-Friday, leaving the weekend stage clear. In return, the Turkish Open will become a part of the 2013 European Tour schedule, to be played in April.
The event aimed to secure the top eight in the Official World Golf Ranking as of April 1. Martin Kaymer and Steve Stricker declined to play. Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel round out the field.
Golf, which returns to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, will also be in the '20 Games.
"Our goal is to hold a competition in the nature of a final that will bring the world’s top 20 professional golfers to Belek and make the whole world sit up and take notice," said Turkish Golf Federation president Ahmet Ağaoğlu in a February 2012 interview. "We have to do something different. After a hiatus of close to a hundred years, golf is going to be an Olympic sport again at the 2016 Olympics. Our aim is to send a couple Turkish golfers there to compete. We are already working on that."
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