The Bosphorus Bridge that crosses the Istanbul strait will close for an hour on today, as Tiger Woods will be hitting balls from the bridge as part of the opening of the Turkish Airlines Open 2013 golf tournament.
It was initially announced that the bridge would be closed for five hours. After the reactions, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu posted a tweet late yesterday, saying the traffic would be halted between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
All drivers heading to the Bosporus Bridge will be directed to the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge between during the show, the Istanbul police department has announced. The event is expected to worsen the already congested traffic of Istanbul, while offering an unexpected golf show.
Woods will be featuring in a strokeplay event for the first time in six weeks at the Turkish Airlines Open, which starts on Thursday. The world number one will become the first golfer to hit balls from East to West on the iconic bridge that separates the continents of Europe and Asia.
Woods will then travel down to the city of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast to take on Europe’s finest in the $7 million tournament at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course. The 14-time major winner also played in last year’s invitational eight-man World Golf Final in Turkey, but this season marks the first time the country has hosted an official European Tour event.
“I had a great time during my first visit to Turkey … and I’m looking forward to playing there once again,” Woods said in a news release, according to Reuters. He has not played a stroke play competition since finishing tied for 22nd place at the Tour Championship in Atlanta in September, the final event of the U.S. PGA Tour’s money-spinning Fed Ex Cup series.
Among the 37-year-old American’s title rivals in Antalya will be U.S. Open champion and World Golf Final winner Justin Rose. “It’s going to be fun to play in Turkey again. It’s great for Turkey to have an event in the Final Series,” said the 33-year-old Briton. This week’s tournament is the penultimate event in the inaugural Final Series, the European Tour’s new Fed Ex Cup equivalent. Rose is third in the Race To Dubai money list on 1.87 million euros ($2.53 million), behind Graeme McDowell (2.05 million) and Fed Ex Cup winner Henrik Stenson (2.20 million), with just the Turkish Open and DP World Tour Championship in Dubai to come.
Ian Poulter, fourth on the list with earnings of 1.66 million euros, will look to go one better in Antalya than his second-place finish to American Dustin Johnson in last week’s WGC-Champions Tournament in Shanghai. Former world number one Lee Westwood also features in the 78-man lineup this week but Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia are absentees. First prize in the Turkish Airlines Open is worth 848,930 euros.