As the battle to host the 2022 Ryder Cup gets close to a conclusion, Turkey is aiming to be the “strongest bidder” for the match four years after that, when Ireland could also be among the contenders.
A year ago, Turkey performed a U-turn 24 hours after pulling out of the race to stage the 2022 event to be among six nations to declare their intention to submit a bid.
I will not die until I have the Ryder Cup played in this countryAhmet Agaoglu
It was then announced in March that Turkey had withdrawn from the process, leaving that particular fight between Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria after Portugal also didn’t get to inspection-visit stage.
The winner among that quartet is set to be announced on 8 December, with Germany believed to be the favourite after its government agreed to back the bid to stage the event at a Nick Faldo-designed course south of Berlin.
In the meantime, Turkey has turned its attention to the 2026 encounter, with Ahmet Agaoglu, president of the country’s golf federation, hoping the financial muscle of Turkish Airlines can play its part in securing the transatlantic tussle.
“We will be the strongest bidder for 2026,” he declared at a press conference in Belek to highlight the development of the sport in Turkey.
“I will not die until I have the Ryder Cup played in this country.
“It is a pity that we did not bid for 2022, but the mistake I made with that was I expected government support but didn’t get it, and I will not make that mistake again.
“I know what we have to do in 2026 and hopefully I can get the support of a company like Turkish Airlines to help us build the golf course we need that can accommodate 60-70,000 fans.”
More than 20 new courses are set to be built in the Antalya area, where the number of rounds played per year has risen from 15,130 in 1995 to 513,216 in 2014.
“Turkey has something special here in terms of the quality and presentation of facilities that are world class and I would urge them to keep pursuing the dream of staging a Ryder Cup,” said David MacLaren, the European Tour’s director of property and venue development.
Turkey’s rivals could include Ireland, where the event was held at the K Club in 2006, as it is believed that Adare Manor, the County Limerick resort owned by entrepreneur JP McManus, also has its sights set on that match.
Another event that could be heading across the Irish Sea is the 2019 Amateur Championship, with Portmarnock and the Island reported to have been lined up for that by the R&A.
Portmarnock is the only venue to have staged the event outside Great Britain, hosting it in 1949.