Part of complete coverage on
Korean tensions scare off U.S. golfers
April 23, 2013 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
U.S. golfer Dustin Johnson played in the 2011 Ballantine's Championship in South Korea.
- Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson withdraw from golf tournament in South Korea
- American golfers worried about recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula
- Tournament sponsor insists that the event can safely go ahead this week
- Ballantine's Championship is co-sanctioned by European and Asian tours
(CNN) -- The sponsor of a top golf tournament in South Korea insists it is safe to go ahead despite two American players pulling out due to security fears.
U.S. Ryder Cup stars Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson withdrew from the Ballantine's Championship Monday, citing concerns over recent tensions between North and South Korea.
"They have reached this decision following perceived unrest on the Korean Peninsula and can no longer assure their commitment to this year's event," Ballantine's said in a statement on the website of the European Tour, which co-sanctions the tournament with the Asian Tour.
Now held at the Blackstone course at Icheon, 60 kilometers south of the capital Seoul, the €2,205,000 ($2.85 million) event was the first staged in South Korea in 2008 on the island of Jeju.
Golf win 'more important than world peace'
Bubba Watson on shaping shots
14 year old golfer makes Masters history
Top female golfers on male-only courses
"Ballantine's and the European Tour would like to reiterate that the tournament is going ahead as planned with a full field of European, Asian and Korean PGA Tour members," the statement added.
Read: North Korea welcomes the world's amateur golfers
"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.
World No. 30 Zach Johnson, who won the 2007 Masters, said he did not want to take the risk following North Korea's recent threats against its neighbor and its move to test missiles and restart its nuclear program.
"It was one of those things where the women in my life really didn't feel like it was necessary for me to go," the 37-year-old from Iowa told the Des Moines Register, referring to his wife, mother and young daughter.
Read: The $74M golf course in Korea that nobody plays
"The posture and rhetoric that is taking place right now makes it not worth it. And it probably is just posture and rhetoric. However, I don't want to take the chance."
World No. 19 Dustin Johnson, who played at the Korean event in 2011, had similar concerns.
"I feel bad for the tournament," said the 28-year-old, whose partner is Paulina Gretzky, the model daughter of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. "They were gracious and understanding. Hopefully it will work out in the future."
The tournament, which starts on Thursday, will feature three former major champions in South Africa's world No. 6 Louis Oosthuizen, South Korean veteran Y.E. Yang and Britain's Paul Lawrie.
Part of complete coverage on
September 21, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
The PGA Tour can make instant millionaires at virtually every one of its tournaments -- but it was not always that way, just ask Billy Casper.
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
If it were a heavyweight boxing contest it'd be ruled a mismatch -- the journeyman's champion up against one of golf's greatest legends.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
U.S. debt may appear to be spiraling out of control, but one sporting industry is making a major contribution to the country's economic health.
September 12, 2013 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Andriy Shevchenko was one of the finest football players of his generation. He retired last year but is now trying the professional golf circuit.
August 28, 2013 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)
After becoming the youngest golfer to win five major championships, Yani Tseng has slipped down the rankings. Can she come back?
Tiger Woods' wait for a 15th major title will stretch into a sixth year, and CNN's Patrick Snell says the world No. 1 may have lost his self-belief.
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
He inspired the cult of "Dufnering" but after winning his maiden major, Jason Dufner has forced the world to take his golf seriously.
August 12, 2013 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
After a nightmare final round at the PGA Championship, former world No. 1 Lee Westwood received a torrent of abuse on Twitter.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
CNN's Alex Thomas speaks with U.S. Open Champion Justin Rose, the first Englishman to claim the title since 1970.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Living Golf goes behind the scenes at the biggest tournament in women's golf.
August 8, 2013 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
Amanda Davies gets a crash course in golf from actor Samuel L. Jackson, who always makes time for his favorite sport.
June 27, 2013 -- Updated 1313 GMT (2113 HKT)
So Yeon Ryu was seven years old when she gave her first violin recital. At the age of 12 she had to make a tough decision.
June 21, 2013 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
As Justin Rose emerged onto the 18th fairway, he knew it was his moment to seize the U.S. Open crown.
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
Two of the most recognizable faces on the planet were casually shooting the breeze as they swept down the fairway in Florida.
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
As well as the bad weather that has already disrupted play, the world's top golfers will face a rare challenge at this week's U.S. Open at Merion.
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 1053 GMT (1853 HKT)
Forget hitting the greens -- it's the fairway to heaven which is on the minds of some of the world's top golfers.
Today's five most popular stories