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Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 12:22 UK

Ballesteros savours second chance

Seve Ballesteros
Ballesteros celebrates his Open triumph at St Andrews in 1984

Golfing great Seve Ballesteros has spoken publicly for the first time about his recovery from brain surgery.

The 52-year-old five-time major winner endured four operations after a tumour was diagnosed last October.

Speaking at the launch of the cancer research foundation in Madrid that will bear his name he said: "Nine months ago my life was hanging by a thread.

"Now I call myself Seve Mulligan," he added, referring to the golf rule which allows a second chance to play a shot.

As a player, the Spaniard was famed for his ability to conjure sensational recoveries from precarious positions on the golf course.

He retired from golf in 2007 after continual back problems, and has needed even greater powers of resolve to withstand extensive chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumour on the brain, which was diagnosed after he collapsed twice in Madrid.

606: DEBATE

"This is like a dream. It was very tough at the beginning, it was tough to believe what was happening to me," he added.

"When the doctors explained to me what they had done in my brain it's a miracle."

He also recalled memories of his second Open Championship victory and said: "That ball at St Andrews in 1984 that stopped by the lip of the hole and finally, finally with my energy the ball dropped in the hole. And with my energy and the ability and the hands of the doctors I am here."

Asked about his new foundation he said: "I am a lucky man, I have a second opportunity and my desire is to help others.

And of his wave of well-wishers he added: "They have to have faith, if you have a fighter and you are consistent, you win."



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see also
Ballesteros attends football game
03 May 09 |  Golf
Ballesteros needs more treatment
26 Mar 09 |  Golf
Ballesteros surgery a 'success'
24 Oct 08 |  Golf
World of golf backs legend Seve
13 Oct 08 |  Golf
Wishing Seve well
20 Oct 08 |  Golf
Ballesteros battles brain tumour
12 Oct 08 |  Golf
Seve's career in photos
16 Jul 07 |  Golf
Ballesteros ends dazzling career
16 Jul 07 |  Golf


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