Pelley made the claim yesterday in Antalya, where George Coetzee, 85th in the Race to Dubai shot a seven under 64 to lead by a shot from Dane Thorbjorn Olesen. Pádraig Harrington ended it with a bogey for a one over 72 that featured a costly triple bogey six.
“It will definitely be here next year,” said Pelley.
“I think you would get buy-in from 95% of the actual players. It is different though with the shadows and if somebody’s eyesight is not 100% then they might push back, but we will definitely have a competition for money under the lights next year.”
Asked if a full tournament could eventually be staged at night, Pelley added: “I would say nothing is impossible. It gets dark at six so I don’t know. Anything is possible.”
The controversial idea was greeted with less enthusiasm by Danny Willett, who fired a 69 at Regnum Carya resort yesterday. “That would be a useless idea,” Willett added. “It would be okay for a giggle but not for a real tournament and Race to Dubai money.”
When the average world ranking of the top 14 players on the leaderboard here in Turkey is 186th, you know that something’s not quite right. But the absence of stars such as Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed is not a huge concern for the sponsors of the Turkish Airlines Open or Pelley.
The Tour has an agreement with Turkish Airlines through 2018 and Pelley insisted the social media traction for events such as Wednesday’s cook-off at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort between Thongchai Jaidee (winner) and Andrew “Beef” Johnston is as valuable as having big name players.
On the security fears that have decimated the field, Pelley believes the post-event reaction will be as positive as it was post-Rio, adding he would have brought his children had both been on mid-term break.
Meanwhile Harrington is delighted to be in Turkey but disappointed not to get up and down from under the back lip of a bunker at the 18th as he ended the day tied 58th. “It would have been a really good level par,” said Harrington, who birdied the fifth, then took six by blading a chip into water after overshooting the 194-yard sixth. “It looks a really disappointing one over but apart from the six, I got the most out of everything.”
Still buoyant after his win in Portugal, Harrington made a 20 footer from off the green for a two at the eighth, bogeyed the 10th to go two over again, then birdied the par-five 12th and 15th only to miss a six footer at the last.