Westwood "disappointed" in McIlroy's Turkish withdrawal

Lee Westwood believes Rory McIlroy can no longer win the Race to Dubai

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 2 Nov 2016

Rory McIlroy (Getty Images) 

Lee Westwood has expressed disappointment in Rory McIlroy's late withdrawal to this week's Turkish Airlines Open.

McIlroy decided to bypass the trip to Turkey last weekend following a series of bombs in the country and the tournament's host city Antalya.

The Northern Irishman is currently ranked third in the European Tour's season-long Race to Dubai standings with three events to go, but Westwoood believes his Ryder Cup colleague has all-but ruined his chances of three consecutive titles. 

RACE TO DUBAI STANDINGS:

1. H Stenson (Swe) 3,843,284 pts
2. D Willett (Eng) 3,581,897
3. R McIlroy (NI) 2,824,149
4. A Noren (Swe) 2,318,604
5. T Hatton (Eng) 2,242,985

"I'm a little disappointed," said Westwood. 

"Rory brings an awful lot to a golf tournament. He's a former world number one, he's defending the money list and he's pretty much taken himself out of that by not playing this week."

Despite recent bombings in the country, Ahmet Agaoglu, president of the Turkish Golf Federation, said Antalya is secure.

 

Lee Westwood (Getty Images) 

"At the request of the European Tour we have taken lots of extra measures this week," said Agaoglu.

"We laid on charter flights for players coming from China and England. But others came by themselves. They flew to Istanbul, made their connections to Antalya and took courtesy cars to the hotel. They did not ask for any extra security."

COMEBACK: TIGER WOODS TO RETURN IN DECEMBER

Agaoglu also revealed McIlroy did not even personally confirm his withdrawal, unlike Tiger Woods several weeks ago. 

"[McIlroy] did not contact me," he said.

"Tiger [Woods] sent me an e-mail an hour before he announced he was not coming. He apologised. He said how disappointed he was. I am hopeful he will come here to play next year."
 

Danny Willett (Getty Images)

Open champion Henrik Stenson moved to the front of the Race to Dubai standings following his joint runner-up finish at last week's WGC-HSBC Champions. 

Masters champion Danny Willett trails 261,387 points behind Stenson, with McIlroy little more than 1 million points behind the Swede in third. 

With McIlroy and leader Stenson choosing to bypass this week's tournament, England's Willett is eager to bounce back from some recent poor performances with a strong showing in Turkey this week.

"We've been leading it for a long, long time," said Willett, who finished 14-over in China last week.

"Unfortunately last week, I had probably my worst event on Tour for the years I've been on and Henrik finished second, so jumped us.

"For me, this is a pretty big week. Henrik is not here. He was never scheduled to play anyway. So it gives me a chance to either close that gap, or hopefully leapfrog again and make it really interesting coming down to the last two."

 

 

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