Their withdrawals mean only a pair of top-50 players will tee it up this week – Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) and Paul Lawrie (No. 38). Paul Casey, Y.E. Yang and Thomas Bjorn are among the notables in the field.
Tensions have increased in recent weeks, with North Korea threatening nuclear action against both South Korea and the United States.
Earlier this month, Alvaro Quiros said that it would be a “stupid idea” to play the tournament, given the political unrest in the area. “I don’t want to mess with my life just to play in a golf tournament,” he said at the time.
Tournament officials attempted to downplay any security issues, saying in a statement Monday, “Ballantine’s has been kept fully up to date on relevant issues and the European Tour has also been liaising with key decision-makers, including the foreign office, who have not warned of any increased risk to those traveling to or within the country.”