Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Ballesteros says he is determined to fight brain tumor

AP , MADRID

After a career full of miraculous shots — including one from a parking lot during his first British Open win — Seve Ballesteros was preparing for the “hardest challenge” of his life on Sunday after announcing he has a brain tumor.

The 51-year-old Ballesteros was set to undergo a biopsy today before doctors determine how to proceed.

“Throughout my career I have been among the best at overcoming challenges on the golf course,” the five-time major winner said in a statement released by Madrid’s La Paz hospital. “Now I want to be the best confronting the hardest challenge of my life, with all my strength, counting on all of you who are sending me encouraging messages.”

Ballesteros was admitted to the hospital last Monday after briefly losing consciousness,

“Once I had been able to inform my three children personally and their mother, I can now communicate to you the illness I am suffering from,” Ballesteros said. “After an in-depth check-up which has been carried out on me in the La Paz Hospital they have detected a brain tumor.”

Ballesteros did not give any more details on the test results. It was unknown whether the tumor was benign or malignant.

“I have always shown my solidarity with those people who face illness, including those whose [illnesses] are much worse than mine,” said Ballesteros, who was also admitted to a hospital last year when doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat. “Now my wish is to ask for respect toward my family and especially my children. We will keep you informed.”

The swashbuckling Spaniard was well known for being able to manufacture a shot from just about anywhere, a feat that earned him the title “Car Park Champion” at the 1979 British Open.

The Pedrena native found the green from a parking lot next to the 16th fairway at Royal Lytham and St. Annes before sinking a long birdie putt on his way to his first major title.

During that final round, Ballesteros used his driver only nine times and hit the fairway once.

Jose Maria Olazabal, who visited Ballesteros after playing at the Madrid Masters on Sunday, said that his former Ryder Cup partner appeared in good physical shape.

“I saw Seve looking very well. We were speaking for quite a little while,” Olazabal told Spanish news agency Efe. “I wish him a prompt recovery.”

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