Headbutt row with journalist overshadows $7m event
THE president of the Turkish Golf Federation today apologised for an incident with a journalist which threatened to overshadow the Turkish Airlines World Golf final and the creation of a new $7m tournament on the European Tour.
Ahmet Agaoglu revealed today that the Turkish Open will be staged for the next three years, with a 78-man field competing for the massive prize fund the week before the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
It is part of continuing attempts to promote Turkey as a golfing destination and boost the country's bid to host the 2020 Olympics, with organisers hoping that the likes of Tiger Woods will be persuaded to compete in the Turkish Open after enjoying this week's event.
But it was an unsavoury incident before Woods' opening match with Charl Schwartzel in Antalya yesterday which brought today's apology from Mr Agaoglu, who had been accused of headbutting a journalist amid chaotic scenes on the first tee.
"Some of the cameramen and photographers were in front of Tiger's line and they had been warned several times by the marshals," Mr Agaoglu said.
"They didn't leave their places and naturally the security people pushed them. Probably they didn't like it and they started shouting to the security guys.
"I was there explaining this is not like other sports - while Messi is going to take a penalty you cannot go into the six-yard area to take a picture - and while saying this there was a reaction saying 'You cannot push us back, you cannot shout at us'.
"I was being pushed by one of them and pushed them back as well, the poor guy (local journalist Cihat Unal) was in the wrong place in the wrong time.
"While organising such tournaments I shouldn't have to be there, but I am trying to make everything so perfect. It was unlucky it happened and I will given a written apology because one way or another it was not nice.
"He stumbled back and I was almost going to fall over him."
Asked if the police would be involved, Mr Agaoglu added: "We will solve it, it's not a big issue and I'm sorry such kind of things happened."
The inaugural Turkish Open will take place from November 7-10 next year on the Colin Montgomerie-designed course at the Maxx Royal resort, with Woods "available at the moment" to play, according to promoter Chubby Chandler.