Padraig Harrington happy to play on in Turkey despite withdrawal of headline attractions

Ireland's Padraig Harrington. Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA
Ireland's Padraig Harrington. Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA
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Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington believes the players who have pulled out of this week’s Turkish Airlines Open due to security concerns may have over-reacted.

The £5.7m event has been hit by a spate of withdrawals, including that of headline attraction Rory McIlroy, due to safety fears surrounding the first of the three Final Series events.

The European Tour is understood to have been on the verge of cancelling the tournament last week after an explosion in a car parked outside the Antalya Trade and Industry Chamber injured around a dozen people on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Tour officials investigated Turkish media reports that two rockets were fired from a mountainous area close to the highway linking the city of Antalya to the resort town of Kemer.

American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed followed McIlroy in pulling out of the event after concerns expressed by the US State Department at the weekend.

But Harrington drew on his personal experience of playing in Northern Ireland early in his career, as well as this year’s Olympics in Brazil, before deciding to travel to the venue in Antalya.

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

“There’s a lot of scaremongering... obviously here it’s a slightly bigger issue, but everything about the place is great. They have to put more security in and pay attention, but is it more dangerous here than anywhere else? I’m not really sure.”

Tiger Woods will end a 16-month absence from competitive golf next month at his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Woods, 40, has been missing from the course since last September.