Turkish Airlines Open takes things up a notch
By Stephanie Wei under European Tour

Diehard golf fans probably know this already, but the European Tour is pretty chill and open to trying unconventional things. Well, at this week’s Turkish Airlines Open, one of the final events to the Race to Dubai (the European version of the FedExCup), the back tee of the 16th hole at Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort is located on the rooftop of a villa. Oh, and there’s a nice view of the swimming pool below, too.

The note pictured below — which was presumably posted around the first tee and locker room, etc. — informs players of this unique tee location.

This is the first time Regnum Carya has hosted this event and when looking at setup options, tournament officials noticed that after renovations and construction to the resort, the 16th hole didn’t play as long because the back tee had been replaced by a villa. So, to make it a better hole and add distance to the par-4, officials decided to create a new tee — approximately where the old one was. This unique measure adds 34 yards to the 16th, measuring 463 yards. Let’s check out a few more photos of this outside-the-box (no pun intended) creation.

It looks so cool that I wish I could play it — well, I probably just love it because it’s different and unconventional, but works and apparently makes it a better hole.

Padraig Harrington gave his stamp of approval following his practice round Tuesday.

“I liked it,” said Harrington. “It’s a bit of fun. It’s interesting. I wouldn’t exactly like playing it on a day like today, 20-mile-an-hour wind off the left. I think on a reasonable day, a bit of warmth, it’s a fine and generous enough hole. It’s 275 to carry the bunker so it’s not really — should be able to do that.

“I like anything that’s a little bit different. Certainly at a good time in the round — if it was the 18th, you might go, oh, that’s a bit of a distraction at that stage. But the 16th, that’s fine. Let’s go play.”

Wow, that must be a record for Paddy! I mean, answering a question in less than 1,000 words. I kid, I kid, obviously. We love Paddy, but he even pokes fun at himself for his long answers. Hey, I prefer that over the other way around, which is more often the case.

The Turkish Airlines Open was supposed to feature more bold-faced names, including Tiger Woods, who signed a deal with the event in 2013 that stipulated a $3 million appearance fee each year he teed it up. (But let’s be real, I’m fairly certain Woods never seriously intended on playing this year despite his announcement in September that he “hoped to play” in Napa and Turkey.

Rory McIlroy withdrew from the tournament at the last minute for “obvious” reasons (aka security concerns).

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or just don’t pay attention to the news, there’s been quite a bit of unrest in Turkey the past couple months. The U.S. government even put out a notice that basically said to stay the hell away from Turkey or travel at your own risk, according to

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Turkey, advising Americans to “avoid travel to Southeast Turkey and carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country.” Earlier this week a car explosion injured a dozen people in Antalya, the host city for next week’s event.

Henrik Stenson, who finished runner-up at last week’s WGC event in China, didn’t really give a reason, but I’m assuming wanting a week off from tournament golf after a super long year was part of it.

“Back home to Orlando, do a bit of work with (swing instructor) Pete (Cowen) and then hopefully I can just carry on for the final two weeks,” Stenson said, via

Patrick Reed, who had said he was hopeful to play to keep his European Tour card, also withdrew. Can’t blame them with the crazy schedule they’ve had to deal with this year. I know it’s golf, but still,  you need some time off. This no offseason thing has gotten out of control.

No Tiger. No Rory. No Stenson. BUT who needs them when there’s a super cool 16th hole tee box on a roof! And hey, maybe a quick dip in the pool if there’s a back-up — it sure looks refreshing!