Seve Ballesteros will undergo a biopsy on a brain tumour on Tuesday as he prepares for what he describes as “the most difficult game of his life”.
Concerns over the health of the 51-year-old had been growing since he was taken to the intensive care unit at La Paz hospital in Madrid after fainting last Monday.
The five-time major winner underwent a number of tests over the weekend which uncovered the tumour. After informing his family, Ballesteros confirmed the news in a statement released to the Spanish media yesterday evening.
The statement read: “Now I’ve been able to tell my three children personally and their mother, now I can tell you the illness that I am suffering from.
“After the exhaustive tests that I have undertaken in the Hospital La Paz (Madrid) they have detected a brain tumour.
“Now my wish is to ask for respect for my family and especially for my children. We will keep you informed. The doctors will now decide how to proceed.
“Throughout my entire career I have been one of the best at overcoming obstacles on the golf course. And now I want to be the best, facing the most difficult game of my life, using all my strength and also counting on those who have been sending me get-well messages.
“I have always sympathised with those people who face illnesses. Therefore, I want to remind them that with bravery, faith, serenity, confidence and a lot of mental strength, we have to face any situation no matter how difficult it may be.
“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. Many thanks.”
Ballesteros’ compatriots Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez were quick to offer him their best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Olazabal, who visited Ballesteros in hospital, said he was “confident” he would recover, adding: “While I’m rightly worried, I thought Seve seemed very well. We were talking for a good while. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Jimenez added: “Seve, we love you. We all hope you recover as soon as possible and we’re waiting for you.”
Sam Torrance, a contemporary of Ballesteros on the European Tour and a former European Ryder Cup captain too, added: “Well it’s tragic news obviously, he’s one of the best-ever players. There’s not much more I can say. I have many fond memories of playing with him and against him. I was on tour before he started and I was on tour after he finished, so I was a witness to his glorious career. I hope he gets better.”
There have been concerns over Ballesteros’ health since he retired in 2007.
Doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat when he was admitted to hospital last year while persistent back problems led to his retirement following a brief comeback in the middle of the decade.
In a glittering career Ballesteros won The Open three times, the Masters twice, and 50 European Tour events. He also captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory at Valderrama in 1997.