Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Seve Ballesteros makes first public appearance

Seve Ballesteros
Seve Ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros has made his first official public appearance since undergoing lifesaving surgery to remove a brain tumour last December.

The 52-year-old was speaking at the launch of a cancer federation that will bear his name in Spain and admits he has felt like he has been given a second chance at life.

"The first thing that I told the doctors after I woke up from the anaesthetic was that my new name was Seve Mulligan," he said in reference to the golf rule which permits a player to retake a shot.

"Nine months ago my life was hanging by a thread. I feel now like I have a mulligan in life."

The five-time major winner was diagnosed with a brain tumour after losing consciousness at Madrid Airport last October.

He spent the next 66 days in La Paz hospital in Madrid where he underwent four operations before being allowed to return to his home in Bilbao on December 9.

Ballesteros has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since and today got the chance to praise the doctors who performed the operations to remove the tumour, describing their work as "a miracle".

The charismatic Spaniard also likened his fight against the ailment to the birdie putt he sank on the 18th at St Andrews to help win the Open in 1984 - which he believes required a similar amount of willpower.

He added to BBC Sport: "My recovery is like The Open in 1984 when the ball hovered on the lip of the hole. With all my energy I willed the ball to drop in and it did.

"With that ability and the doctors' hands, I am here now."

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