After a four-month absence from the game, Alvaro Quiros is relishing his return to competitive action at this week’s Avantha Masters.
The huge-hitting Spaniard was last seen gracing the fairways at the WGC-HSBC Champions in early November, 2012, when a tied 65th place finish brought a premature close to what was – by his own elevated standards – a somewhat disappointing campaign, as he failed to register a victory for the first time since joining The European Tour in 2007.
In mitigation, a damaged cartilage in his right wrist had been plaguing Quiros for several months, prompting an operation to cure the problem.
On the bright side, the enforced break since then has allowed Quiros to indulge his passion for James Bond films – he watched ‘Skyfall’ no fewer than five times – but on the down side, he has fallen outside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking, to 119th.
Perhaps understandably, having only resumed practice three weeks ago, Quiros said he felt a touch ring rusty after completing 18 holes in the Pro-Am at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort in Noida, near New Delhi, on Wednesday morning.
But his naturally sunny disposition meant the 30 year old was keen to accentuate the positives ahead of his second appearance on Indian soil.
He said: “It feels great to be back. I’ve been a bit bored at home, so I’m really pleased to be playing golf again. My wrist feels fine, and I’m not in any pain. It feels a little bit weak when I hit shots out of the rough, so I need to build up the strength a little bit. But I’m happy with how the operation went, so I’m really looking forward to getting the tournament started. It will all feel new to me again!”
A model of consistency, until last season Quiros had improved his position in The Race to Dubai in every year since graduating to The European Tour through the Challenge Tour Rankings at the end of 2006.
Thanks chiefly to his brace of victories in Dubai at the start and end of the season, Quiros finished a career-high sixth in the Money List in 2011, and was being tipped by many seasoned observers as a Major winner-in-waiting.
But his red hot form vanished last season, as he recorded just two top tens en route to finishing 73rd in The Race to Dubai.
As he was outside the top 60 it meant Quiros could not even defend his title in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, though in any case the pain in his wrist had become so acute that delaying surgery any further may have caused complications.
Thus, Quiros went under the knife on November 20, promptly packed his clubs away in his garage, and started working his way through this box set of James Bond DVDs.
Fast forward three-and-a-half months and Quiros is itching to return, having rediscovered his love and enthusiasm for the game during his rehabilitation, and successfully banished the disappointing memories of last season.
He said: “Last season was very disappointing, and although it was obviously frustrating to have the surgery, the break was probably a good thing. I didn’t pick up a club for over three months, and now I can’t wait to get playing again.
“I’ve been working very hard in the gym, and have gained five kilos – all muscle, of course, although I’m not like Arnold Schwarzenegger just yet! I feel a lot fitter, even though I probably spent quite a lot of time sitting on the couch. But it was good to catch up with friends and family, because when you’re travelling so much, you don’t always get the time to do that.
“But now I want to get back to my job, which is playing golf. It’s going to take me a little while to get rid of the rust and get back to where I was. But I’m looking forward to the next three weeks, and if I can play all 12 rounds, I’ll be very happy.”
Quiros has been paired in the first round with Challenge Tour champion Gaganjeet Bhullar, who is the Brand Ambassador for Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort, and Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee.