Ballesteros vows to win his 'most difficult match'


Seve Ballesteros' competitive spirit is continuing throughout his recovery and he has urged his good friend Jose Maria Olazabal to lead Europe to glory in the Royal Trophy in Bangkok this week.

The 51-year-old Spaniard is recovering at home in Bilbao, northern Spain, following four operations on a brain tumour which was diagnosed after he collapsed in Madrid in October.

In a letter read by his nephew, Ivan Ballesteros, at the opening ceremony of the Royal Trophy, the former European Ryder Cup captain and five-time major winner reiterated his determination to make a full recovery.

"Even though I'm not there today, somehow my heart and my thoughts are there with you," the letter read.

"I'm at home recovering and working hard every day. I will keep fighting and doing all in my heart and in my head to win my most difficult match.

"I hope I see you again next year, hopefully defending the title once again as captain of the European side."

Olazabal, who was visibly moved as the letter was being read, has taken the role of European captain for the third edition of the match play contest with Asia.

The 42-year-old revealed he has been in regular contact with Ballesteros, who captained the European team in each of the previous two matches, and that his compatriot's indomitable spirit remains.

"His only instructions were to win," said Olazabal. "I've seen Seve a few times in the last few weeks. He's actually doing very well considering what he has gone through.

"His spirits are very high, he's really working hard at the rehab, he's trying to recover completely and he's getting stronger so he can get chemotherapy treatment and so on.

"He's in great spirits, he's thinking of doing things, and, as Ivan said, he's aiming to be healthy again and to battle this thing.

"So far the news has been very, very good."