Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dunne takes break while Harrington backs Turkey tournament

Published 02/11/2016 | 02:30

Dunne, who played in the weekly Winter Series event at The Links Portmarnock yesterday, kept a close eye on the movement of players in the field once he finished his round as he was third reserve for Turkey. Photo: Bill Murray / Sportsfile
Dunne, who played in the weekly Winter Series event at The Links Portmarnock yesterday, kept a close eye on the movement of players in the field once he finished his round as he was third reserve for Turkey. Photo: Bill Murray / Sportsfile

Paul Dunne's hopes of joining Pádraig Harrington in the field for the $7million (€6.33m) Turkish Airlines Open were dashed last night.

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Dunne, who played in the weekly Winter Series event at The Links Portmarnock yesterday, kept a close eye on the movement of players in the field once he finished his round as he was third reserve for Turkey.

Top players including Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed and Henrik Stenson had already opted out because of terrorism scares, but all Dunne needed was a thumbs up from tournament officials.

"I would have played because I figured if the threat was severe, then they wouldn't have played the tournament.

"They're not going to put a golf competition ahead of people's safety, so they must be pretty confident that it's pretty safe.

"You can get attacks anywhere in the world.

"If you're worried about that, you'd end up living your life on eggshells. I'd go and just hope for the best," said Dunne.

Later in the day, the European Tour released the tee-times for round one at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, and they had the full muster of 78 players.

That made up Dunne's mind. He now plans to take the rest of the week off, and start preparing next week for the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa from December 1-4.

Status

His 2017 status as one of the 110 exempt players affords him more choice about when, and where, and how often he plays.

"Obviously I would like to have done better in a few events, but it's a building block.

"Everyone hopes they get off to a quick start and win straight away, but it improves my status for next year.

"Hopefully I can keep trending that way, keep improving, and start winning soon," said Dunne.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Airlines Open, the first of the three Final Series events, goes ahead as scheduled.

Harrington, winner of the Portugal Masters last Sunday week, had no complaints.

"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.

"It was talked about a lot, and I think Keith Pelley (the European Tour chief executive) did a great job by coming down here a couple of days ago and leading from the front," said Harrington.

Irish Independent

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