Ballesteros released for outpatient care
The 51-year-old Spanish golfing great will continue to be treated as an outpatient, Madrids La Paz hospital said in a statement. Ballesteros thanked not only the neurosurgeons who performed the operations, but also the staff and well-wishers who showed support since he was hospitalized 66 days ago.
Thanks to them I will be able to play the mulligan of my life, which I expect to enjoy at my best, Ballesteros said in a statement posted on his Web site. There is a long recovery time ahead and I shall keep fighting with patience and determination against the brain tumor that was detected at the beginning of October.
Ballesteros, one of Spains best known sports personalities, was admitted Oct. 6 after fainting at Madrids international airport before boarding a flight to Germany. Since then, he has undergone four separate operations, including a 6 1/2 -hour procedure Oct. 24 to remove the brain tumor and reduce swelling around the brain. That was his third operation in eight days.
Ballesteros was released from intensive care last Wednesday ' the first time he had been out of danger since his initial operation Oct. 15.
Occasionally I was a rebel patient and therefore I ask them to forgive me and thank everyone for all the cares received, Ballesteros said.
A five-time major champion, Ballesteros is known for spectacular shots and fearless play, but still called his current ordeal the hardest challenge of my life.
When you fight with faith and persistency you can overcome whichever drawback you come across. Our mind is stronger than we imagine, Ballesteros said. Just as I always did in my professional life, visualizing success helps achieve ones targets however impossible they seem.
Ballesteros did not say whether he would continue his recuperation at a residence in Madrid, but said he was confident he could recover ' both mentally and physically.
I am a believer and will continue thinking positively to defeat the illness I suffer and encourage those who are going through something similar to do it with the same determination as myself, Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros won three British Opens and two Masters titles. He also recorded 50 career victories on the European Tour and is widely recognized as having transformed European golf.
Perhaps his most memorable shot came from a parking lot next to the 16th fairway at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in the 1979 British Open. Leading by two shots in the final round, he drove into the car park, had a car removed to get his free drop, then fired his second shot into 15 feet and made birdie on his way to his first major.
After lobbying to have the Ryder Cup expanded to include continental Europe in 1979, Ballesteros helped beat the United States in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. He also captained Europe to victory in 1997 at Valderrama, Spain.
Ballesteros retired in 2007 because of a long history of back pain and has since concentrated on golf course design.
Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake
Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.
While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.
“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.
Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.<
DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi
Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.
“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”
Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).
“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.”
Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.
Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace).
“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”
Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi
What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.
Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.
McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.
He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.
McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65).
Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds.
“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”
Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder
Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.
Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.
Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:
Filling in tomorrow for Corey Pavin that WD today @cbgolfchallenge I do things like this a lot to help events and asking for sponsors exemptions here but didn't get any help.— Ken Duke (@DukePGA) January 18, 2018
Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.
Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.