Gulf News exclusively sat down with Alvaro Quiros. The 40-year-old recently returned to the UAE, a familiar hunting ground for the Spaniard who in 2011 won two of the biggest events on the DP World Tour. Now he finds himself competing on the European Challenge Tour, fighting to regain his main tour card.
Alvaro, you might remember is a seven time winner on the DP World Tour. But after finishing 165th on the DP World Tour Rankings in 2022 and failing to regain his playing rights through Qualifying School he now finds himself playing on the European Challenge Tour.
He claimed his maiden DP World Tour victory 17 years ago at the Alfred Dunhill Championship having only turned professional two years prior. That win kick started his career to being one of the renowned longest hitters on tour, collecting a further three victories over the next four seasons. The Portugal Masters, Qatar Masters and his home event the Open de Espana.
But it was 2011 when his game went up a further gear, as he beat a field consisting of the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy by claiming the infamous Dallah Trophy, awarded to the champion of The Omega Dubai Desert Classic held over the Majilis course at Emirates Golf Club. Dubai’s oldest golf course.
Topping off what was already a successful season in 2011 by beating Luke Donald, the then European Tour and PGA Tour number one around the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the DP World Championship presented by DP World.
Biggest event ever won
“Well clearly Dubai Desert Classic it was a golf course that I enjoy a lot always. The Majalis as I said, it was a golf course that even when you have to turn the ball sometimes left I was able to manage playing with my my fade or with my high ball.
“And then winning the last tournament of the year was obviously my biggest event back then and still the biggest tournament that I have won ever! The Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates is a completely different one. It used to be a bombers golf course, a lot of blind shots to the greens.
“I was playing the golf, the best golf of my career.”
Not only did Quiros pick up the biggest event of his career, but he did it in style with his infamous eagle putt holed on the 18th hole.
“Sometimes in golf, you have to really be under control constantly of your own feelings and you don't have the ability or the opportunity to express that kind of excitement and that was one of those moments.
“Two golf courses that I like and suits my eyes and that’s why it was easy. Probably that was the best year of my career.”
Reaching top 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Quiros decided it was time to adapt his golf swing and become more consistent, technically speaking, with his short irons. A change which couldn’t of gone further from what he had hoped…
“Clearly it wasn't a good decision. I started playing worse and I was feeling the swing kind of weird and out of place and by the middle of the year, I started to feel some kind of pain in my wrist.
“By July 2012 I could really barely hit the ball. I went to the doctor and he said I have a ligament partially broken and I have to have surgery at the end of 2012. Since then, my goals never, ever became the ones that I used to know naturally, and to be honest I have never recovered a golfing level as I used to play.
“We take these decisions, some of them work and some of them don't. It was great to have those victories but it wasn't that nice after. After the surgery you know, I haven't been able to find my own swing again. Golf has then become more of a job rather than a way of living.”
Having battled his injury and losing his original swing, Quiros struggled to keep his card every season since then. A glimmer of hope in 2017 when he won the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily but it was last October in 2022 when he eventually lost his full playing rights and wasn’t able to regain them.
Now he is having to accept the fact he is on the European Challenge Tour having to grind it out to gain his DP World Tour rights again. While over his shoulder, many professionals he used to compete with are now playing on the LIV Golf Tour.
“It's difficult to have to make a judgement when you are not part of it. What are you expecting from your own career? What do you want to do? Earn more money and play less? What I completely agree with is following the rules. Some people play the PGA Tour and when you agreed to the membership, they have a regulation same in the DP World Tour. Having said that, I am now on the Challenge Tour and I don't have, those kind of those kind of decisions to make and I have to deal with my with my own issues, call it that way.”