Just 48 hours after the Turkish Golf Federation president said they were postponing their Ryder Cup bid until 2026, Turkish Minister for Youth and Sports Akif Çagatay Kiliç has confirmed the country will bid for the 2022 matches after all.
"Turkey’s formal notification to bid was accepted by Ryder Cup officials and supersedes their earlier decision to withdraw," the European Tour said in a statement.
The confusion almost certainly stems from a mis-communication — or a rapid rethink — by Turkish Golf Federation President Ahmet Ağaoğlu on Tuesday in terms of explaining Turkey's Ryder Cup strategy.
Mr Agaoglu explained that hosting the world’s biggest team golf event at one of the suitable venues in Belek in the south of the country, would require cutting down between 6,000 and 15,000 trees.
In other words, they didn't have a suitable venue and would intsead ask for government help in building a brand new, links style Ryder Cup course north of the highways that serve Belek, taking its potential investment to some €120m.
With Turkish Airlines backing this week's Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Youth and Sport as well as a Challenge Tour event up to 2024, Turkey's commitment to winning a Ryder Cup bid is not in doubt.
The question is when they will bid and while 2022 initially looked too early for them given hat golf is in its infancy in the country, it appears that they have now realised that withdrawing from what is now a six-nation race for 2022 — Denmark have officially pulled out — is a better option than concentrating solely on 2026.
Minister for Youth and Sports Kiliç said: “Now, I have talked to Mr. Ağaoğlu who is in charge of the Turkish Golf Federation, and there are certain things that might have to be supported by the government. We are more than happy to do that. But I don't think that it will harm us in any way to pursue our work, which has already been done until today, for 2022.
“But there's always — this is a race. I mean, in the end, it's a bid. There's competition. But I don't think that we will shy away from anything that is put in our way.”
Kiliç says that the need to build a new course would not stand in the way of Turkey’s bid.
He also feels that attracting the Ryder Cup would take Turkey’s standing in the global game to an even higher level.
Kiliç added: “There is a need to have a course which can answer the requirements of The Ryder Cup. We have to have one like that but it's not a hard thing to build one.
“We are at the world agenda in golf, and we know that people are coming to Turkey from all kind of places around the world to play here, and are enjoying it.”
Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain are also in the running to host the event in eight years’ time.
Kilic said: “Turkey has been successful in hosting a lot of international events, sports events, other kind of events. We do not have any shortcomings or doubts in our mind that we would be able to do it.
Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, said: “The Ryder Cup bidding process has a number of important milestones and we very much look forward to working with the six bidding nations, their representatives, and their national golf federations, in developing the specifics of their respective 2022 bids.
“The key criteria we have in place ensure we evaluate each bid equally on both its sporting and commercial merits, while allowing us to judge each bid fairly and thoroughly.”
Having already taken delivery of an official information pack, the six bidding nations will prepare to host a series of meetings and inspection visits by Ryder Cup Europe officials between now and Thursday April 30, 2015, which is the date that formal submission of official bids need to be made – a date some ten weeks later than the original one given for submissions of Monday February 16, 2015.
Following the series of inspections, a period of detailed analysis of each bid by a management team working on behalf of Ryder Cup Europe – together with the assistance of an independent panel of experts – will be undertaken, with the announcement of the successful host country and venue for The 2022 Ryder Cup planned for autumn 2015.
Germany is believed to be the favourite for 2022.
KEY BID CRITERIA FOR THE 2022 RYDER CUP
- Demonstrable Government, Political, Institutional and Golfing Community support
- Commitment to the development ofa world-class golf facility (new or existing) to host The 2022 Ryder Cup
- Provision of ancillary facilities, suitable access and infrastructure commensurate with the staging of an international sporting event, including proximity to a major international city
- Commercial opportunities available to The Ryder Cup
- Contribution of the Bid Country to the development of golf, for example:
- Contribution to the professional game
- Integration of golf within tourism and business communities
- Development of levels of golf participation
- Professional tournament golf at all levels
- Contribution to The Ryder Cup: eg Player eligibility and participation
The Ryder Cup – Upcoming Venues
- 2016: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minnesota, USA
- 2018: Le Golf National, Paris, France
- 2020: Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin, USA
- 2022: TBC
- 2024: Bethpage Black Course, New York, USA