Friday, 19 March 2010
Alvaro Quiros 600x300  (Getty Images)
Alvaro Quiros 600x300 (Getty Images)

Big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros could have been playing in one of golf's richest events this week, but believes he has done the right thing both for his health and his career in turning it down.

Instead of competing for a first prize of well over €1million at the Players Championship in Florida, Quiros is at the BMW Italian Open in Turin.

"I decided not to go because I've had too many trips to the States and didn't want another just yet," said the World Number 26.

"Here I can rest more or less. I hope to have many more chances to play at Sawgrass."

He is not the first to opt for Italy rather than America, and last year it worked wonders for Robert Karlsson.

The tournament started a run of three successive third places for the Swede, followed by a runners-up finish in Wales and then fourth in the US Open Championship.

With his confidence boosted by that superb spell, Karlsson went on to win twice and become European Number One for the first time at the age of 39.

Quiros, 13 years his junior, won the Qatar Masters in January but came down to earth with a bang on his Masters Tournament debut last month when he missed the cut by no fewer than eight shots.

"It hurt and I want my revenge," he commented with his customary big smile.

"In the last four years it's the most disappointing result I've had. I was waiting for Augusta for a long time, but now I know you need to learn a lot of things to play there."

It could be quite a sight when Quiros goes head to head in the first two rounds with former Open Championship winner John Daly.

Quiros won Europe's driving distance category in 2007 with 308.2 yards and last season increased that to 309.7, over six yards longer than anybody else, while Daly has averaged more than 300 yards every year in America since 1998.

"I've heard he hits it a mile," said Daly, who last Sunday finished 31st at the Open de Espana in his first tournament of the year.

The 43 year old American is also playing The 3 Irish Open, BMW PGA Championship and The European Open before returning home.

Quiros is not currently entered for next week's The 3 Irish Open and is not seeking an invitation, although a top ten finish this weekend would qualify him for the event.

He added: "If I do that and feel fresh I'll probably go."

Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomerie are also in this week's field.

The Ryder Cup Captain Montgomerie is looking to hit back from an 81 last Friday which matched his worst round in Europe for five years.

Clarke, meanwhile, decided to add the event to his schedule after pulling out of one in South Korea two weeks ago to be at home for his older son Tyrone starting boarding school.

Unlike Montgomerie, the 40 year old Ulsterman is already sure of his place in next month's US Open Championship and he commented: "I just want to kick-start my season - it's been a bit stop-start."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1VANCSIK, DanielARG18-17
T2ROCK, RobertENG18-11
T2DALY, JohnUSA18-11
T2JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-11
5AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-10
T6MOLINARI, FrancescoITA18-9
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