Ballesteros will be making his first appearance on tour in two years after battling several health issues, including an ongoing back problem.
Ballesteros, winner of 50 European Tour titles, last played in an official stroke play event at this very tournament, an event he has won a record-tying three times.
Although the spotlight will be shining on Ballesteros to start the event, Colin Montgomerie will likely take the focus once play begins.
The 42-year-old Scotsman has seemingly recaptured his old playing ways that had at one time won him seven consecutive Order of Merit titles on the European Tour.
After beginning the year with five top-10 finishes in his first six starts, Monty began to show his old form with his inspired play at the 134th Open Championship in front of a home crowd. His second-place finish was made all the more impressive knowing that world No. 1 Tiger Woods that was the only player to beat him at St. Andrews.
A solid tie for ninth at the WGC - NEC Invitational several weeks later showed Monty's return to form was no fluke. He completed his turnaround with a stunning victory at the dunhill links championship two weeks ago. His birdie at the 72nd hole was good for his first win of the season and 29th of his career.
That victory, and its large first-place prize, had the Scotsmans within striking distance of U.S. Open champ Michael Campbell for the top spot on the Order of Merit list.
Traveling half way across the world, Monty then made another charge at last week's WGC - American Express Championship, where he ultimately settled for a tie for third, two back of Woods and John Daly. The resulting prize money put him on top of the Euro money list, slightly ahead of Campbell, who is not playing this week in Spain.
If Montgomerie can handle the tough traveling schedule he's faced the past several weeks, a good finish at the Open de Madrid could aid in his quest for an unprecedented eighth Order of Merit title.
Joining Ballesteros in Spain will be fellow countrymen Jos Maria Olazabal, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ignacio Garrido and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano along with a host of other home challengers.
First-place prize money stands at $1,205,000 with the $200,000 going to the winner.