By Tony Jimenez
(Reuters) - Top Spanish golfer Alvaro Quiros said it would be "a stupid idea" to play at this month's European Tour event in South Korea due to the growing political tension in the region.
There has been a military buildup by the United States in South Korea following warnings from North Korea that war was inevitable because of United Nations sanctions imposed for a nuclear test.
In a series of statements issued over the past month, the North has threatened to stage a nuclear strike on the U.S. and has declared war on the South.
The European Tour is due to stage the sixth edition of the Ballantine's Championship in Seoul from April 25-28 but 2011 Dubai World Championship winner Quiros is refusing to play in the event.
"I'm not going to play in Korea," the big-hitting Spaniard told Reuters in an interview. "I don't think it's a good moment to go there - it would be a stupid idea with the way things are.
"I don't want to mess with my life just to play in a golf tournament."
Quiros is also put off by the fact the Blackstone Golf and Country Club at Icheon is tough to get to.
"It is difficult to reach the venue," said the 30-year-old from Cadiz. "It takes one hour to get from the airport to the hotel and you also spend two hours a day travelling back and forth from the course.
"That's one good reason not to go and the political situation is another."
Quiros, six times a winner on the tour, is looking to get his career back on track after spending five months on the sidelines in 2012 because of damaged tendons and ligaments in his left wrist.
The 6-foot-3 Atletico Madrid fan has plunged to 134th in the world rankings after occupying 21st position following his spectacular victory in the lucrative end-of-season Dubai World Championship 16 months ago.
Quiros sealed the best win of his career by rolling in a 40-foot eagle putt at the last hole.
The Spaniard is convinced the wrist injury is behind him. He is pleased with the way he is striking the ball but recognizes this year will be a season of transition.
"I'm not happy with my world ranking because it means I don't get the chance to play in all the majors or the WGC (World Golf Championship) events," explained the bearded Quiros.
"Now I have to just plan my schedule around the European Tour."
The tall, willowy Quiros was one of the longest drivers in world golf before his injury and, although he knows it will take time to rediscover his best golf, he believes he can eventually be even better than before.
"I'm surprised how well I am hitting the ball," he said. "Before I was only hitting it good, now I think I'm hitting it great and that's something I've not been able to say for the last three years.
"That's very positive and gives me a reason to think I can get back to my old level and perhaps get even better."
Quiros's optimism is not necessarily reflected in his results this season.
He has played three times, at the Hassan Trophy in Morocco, the Malaysian Open and the Avantha Masters in India, and has yet to finish in the top 25.
Quiros is renowned as one of the nicest guys on tour and always looks like he is enjoying himself out on the course.
"One good thing about me is I'm able to brush off setbacks and I'm sure that I can put all the bad thoughts out of my mind," he said.
"It's always difficult when you are out injured but I'm happy that I have recovered now."