The Turkish Airlines Open will boast all three of last year’s Olympic medallists, with Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar confirming their places at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort for the sixth tournament out of eight in the European Tour’s Rolex Series.
Englishman Rose won gold in Rio after a memorable duel with silver-medallist Stenson, while Kuchar took bronze as golf returned to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Antalya hosts the Turkish Airlines Open for a fifth time this year and the trio will be battling it out again in the first of three consecutive Rolex Series events which conclude the season-long Race to Dubai on the European Tour.
Aside from The Open Championship, it is the first time the three have competed against each other on European soil since Rio.
It is a significant coup for the tournament and a major boost to the attempts of Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Golf Federation to grow the sport.
Rose said: “It’s great that people are looking forward to having the three of us there and I’m sure we’ll have another good tournament and hopefully another podium finish!
“Winning gold in Rio was one of the highlights of my career. Seeing Henrik and Kuch always brings back good memories and it was a great experience for us to share.”
The Turkish Airlines Open will be staged at the Regnum Carya for the second time from November 2-5 and will this year be part of the European Tour’s Rolex Series – the premium category of eight events on the European Tour, staged in a variety of golfing locations around the world, each with a minimum prize fund of US$7 million.
Swede Stenson featured in the first two Turkish Airlines Opens finishing seventh in 2013 and third in in 2014 in Antalya.
The 2016 Open Champion said: “I’ve had some good finishes in Turkey and I’m hoping that this time around I can challenge again.
“It comes at a really important time in the season but it’s a week that we all enjoy on and off the course.”
Kuchar played in Turkish Airlines’ first tournament, the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, which was won by Rose, in 2012, and is full of anticipation ahead of his return.
The American, who finihsed runner-up in The Open in July, said: “I don’t get to play in Europe too often and I’m excited about taking part in the Turkish Airlines Open for the first time. I had a great time in Turkey five years ago and the hospitality was amazing.
“It’ll be interesting to go back because I’ve heard a lot of good things about the tournament .
“I can’t begin to tell you how proud I was to win bronze at the Olympics. It will be great to tee up with Justin and Henrik again and let’s hope we can produce something as exciting for the Turkish fans.”
President of the Turkish Golf Federation Ahmet Agaoglu said: “We feel it is a significant moment for Turkish golf to have these Olympic legends taking part in our tournament.
“We have already brought some iconic golfing moments to Turkey, such as Tiger Woods hitting a tee shot across the Bosphorus between Europe and Asia, and this is just the kind of statement that will help us spread golf in Turkey.”
Turkish Airlines’ commitment to the sport stretches beyond their backing for November’s $7 million event in Antalya, with the airline sponsoring a Challenge Tour tournament and highly-respected amateur series The Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, as well as allowing golf clubs to travel for free.
Turkish Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, MS. Seda Kalyoncu, said: “The anticipation is building once again for another memorable tournament in Antalya.
“We are proud that players of the calibre of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar will be playing at the Turkish Airlines Open and it shows the importance of this tournament.”