Seve Ballesteros speaks publicly about cancer fight

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2009, 4:00 pm
MADRID ' An emotional Seve Ballesteros has spoken publicly for the first time about his fight against a cancerous brain tumor.
 
The 51-year-old Ballesteros looked frail and thin in photos published by Spanish sports daily Marca on Tuesday along with the golf greats first interview since he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in the right side of his brain nearly six months ago.
 
This is the most important shot of my life. Im fighting to win my sixth major, Marca quoted the five-time major winner as saying. Life has given me a second chance.
 
The newspaper said Ballesteros was frequently overcome by emotion as he talked about his fight toward recovery. He began his fourth round of chemotherapy on Saturday after undergoing four separate surgeries.
 
Im not called Seve Ballesteros, Im called Seve Mulligan because Ive had the luck to be given a mulligan, which in golf is a second chance, he said. Ive been given the mulligan of my life. The proof is that Im alive, that I can do things, that I speak, Im perfectly able to reason.
 
Ive had a lot of luck, which is the truth.
 
Ballesteros fainted on an escalator at Madrids International airport on Oct. 5 and rebuffed airport staff wishes for him to seek medical attention before meeting his nephew Ivan, who took him to Madrids La Paz hospital after he collapsed again.
 
Ballesteros said he would never forget the moment doctors confirmed what the scans had discovered.
 
They were clear with me, they told me: Its a tumor, the luck is that its on the right side so well do a biopsy to see what it is, he said. In that moment it hit me, the shock of it. Youre well and suddenly they tell you this, can you imagine? I was going to eat (lunch) with my son.
 
Ballesteros, who was checked into the hospital under the alias Antonio Dominguez Sota, said he remained upbeat most days, cracking jokes with staff and other patients and trying to keep his spirits up amid the surgeries, which all occurred within 15 days.
 
The operation was perfect. The worst was the post-operations, which were difficult, very difficult! There were many inconveniences, and its not that I had any pain. The pain was interior, Ballesteros said.
 
Ballesteros said he was deeply touched by the get-well cards and wishes he received from all over the world, which he numbered at 300,000.
 
During all of these years I was always very centered on my work. I knew they admired me, what I didnt know is that the people loved me so much, Ballesteros said before breaking down into tears, the newspaper reported. Its like youre living in a bad dream. But I know its only a question of time.
 
Ballesteros competitive spirit also seemed intact. He said his brother Baldomero told him that after waking up from one of his operations his first words were: British Open. Must win it Saturday.
 
Ballesteros won a record 50 times on the European tour. He also has three British Open trophies and two Masters titles, becoming the youngest winner at Augusta National before Tiger Woods trumped his record.
 
Ballesteros had a 20-12-5 record in eight appearances at the Ryder Cup. He was European captain for the victory in 1997, 18 years after he forced the competition to expand to include continental Europe.
 
Along the way, Ballesteros earned many admirers for his brash swagger and imaginative play, especially in Britain and the United States.
 
The (British public) always made me feel very loved, very loved, Ballesteros said before breaking into tears again. Its the corner of the world where the sport is best understood, and in a way thats where it all started for me, the first big step of my career and also the last of my sporting time. Everyone knows the British Open is my favorite tournament.
 
What Im most proud about, if you ask me what my greatest victory was, is to have made golf a popular sport, as it is today, but in those moments it was badly looked upon and rejected by a large part of society.
 
Ballesteros, who retired in a tearful press conference at Carnoustie before the 2007 British Open, said his daily workout routine included light sessions on the rowing machine, exercise bicycle and in the pool, with a traditional siesta usually preceding an afternoon walk.
 
Sometimes I have rebelled, when I had two lower back pains that kept me in bed, Ballesteros said. That was a relapse.
 
Ballesteros is on a diet consisting of only fish and vegetables and said he has dropped 33 pounds since being admitted. He now weighs 165 pounds ' the same as when he won his first Masters at age 23.
 
A withered Ballesteros was not concerned about the publics reaction to his physical image.
 
Nothing worries me, he said. That the least! These wounds, they are wounds of war.
 
Related Links:
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.