Ballesteros happy about Woods return to golf


MADRID – Seve Ballesteros is thrilled to see Tiger Woods returning to golf, and believes the 14-time major champion has a “great chance” of winning the Masters next month.

The Spaniard said Tuesday the sport would have been in “serious difficulties” had Woods decided to retire following a car crash in November and revelations of extramarital affairs.

“His return is good for the golf world and I am very happy about it,” Ballesteros said after being presented as the patron of Spain’s bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. “I think it is going to help golf in all the world. I think that Tiger Woods takes over so much that if he wasn’t around, if he had retired, the golf world would be in serious difficulties.”

Woods plans to end more than four months of seclusion and play at Augusta National, one of the most tightly controlled environments in the sport.

Ballesteros, who is fighting brain cancer, said Augusta is the perfect place for Woods’ comeback, since he has won the tournament four times. The tournament starts April 8.

“We all know his potential and Augusta is a very long course,” Ballesteros said. “He is very used to playing long off the tee and he knows the golf course very well, so I think he has a great chance to win.”

“He is strong, and despite all the difficulties that he has had recently I think he has the ability to overcome all the obstacles that are put in front of him that could stop him winning,” Ballesteros added. “I trust that he can win it.”

Ballesteros won the Masters twice, to go with three British Open titles.