Golf legend Ballesteros diagnosed with brain tumour

Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros, a five-times Major winner, said on Sunday he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“I inform you that after an exhaustive check, that was realised at Hospital La Paz, a brain tumour has been detected,” the 51-year-old said in a statement issued by the Madrid hospital.

Ballesteros said he will undergo a biopsy on Tuesday and then doctors will decide on a course of treatment.

“During my career I was one of the best at getting around obstacles on golf courses. Now I want to be the best at confronting the most difficult match of my life with all my strength, and counting on all of you who are sending encouraging messages,” he said.

“I have always felt very close to people who suffer serious illness, even more severe than mine. I want to remind them that with courage, faith, serenity, confidence and a lot of mental strength we have to face every situation no matter how difficult it is.

“I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all those people who have shown affection and interest in my state of health, with all kinds of support.”

Ballesteros collapsed unconscious on Monday and was taken to the hospital where he remained in intensive care while doctors conducted tests.

Hospital officials released a statement on Friday confirming the Spaniard had suffered “a partial epileptic fit” but said he had left intensive care and was in “a stable condition”.

Ballesteros posted a reassuring message on his personal website during the week, saying he was “feeling very well” as he waited for the results of clinical tests.

In his latest statement, he said he had waited to make his brain-tumour diagnosis public until he had first personally informed his three teenaged children, including two who were out of the country, and his ex-wife.

His family flew to Madrid this weekend to be by his side, Spanish media reported.

He thanked well-wishers for their support, asked that his family’s privacy be respected and vowed to provide updates on his condition.

Last year, doctors discovered he was suffering from an irregular heartbeat, a condition which his manager said at the time was not serious.

Ballesteros won the British Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Augusta Masters in 1980, a title he repeated in 1983.

He was an influential figure in the Ryder Cup, winning 20 points from 37 matches and captaining Europe to victory at Valderrama in 1997.

He collected 87 titles before knee and back problems forced him to retire last year.

Known for his flamboyant and imaginative style of play, he won one of his three British Open titles by playing a shot from a temporary parking lot.—Sapa-AFP