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Golf Talk: Seve Ballesteros Fights Brain Tumor

By    |   Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:03 AM

  • Seve Ballesteros Receives Speedy Recovery Wishes

  • Zach Johnson Back to Winning Ways

  • D.A. Weibring Wins Senior Players Championship

  • Charl Schwartzel Wins Third European PGA Tour

    Seve Ballesteros Receives Speedy Recovery Wishes

    The shocking report that Seve Ballesteros has a brain tumor elicited get-well wishes from the world of golf.

    Jose Maria Olazabal, who visited Ballesteros, 51, in the hospital, said, "While I'm rightly worried, I thought Seve seemed very well. We were talking for a good while. I wish him a speedy recovery."

    Miguel Angel Jimenez also weighed in with his best wishes for Ballesteros: "Seve, we love you. We all hope you recover as soon as possible, and we're waiting for you."

    Ballesteros' European Tour contemporary, and former European Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance was shaken by the news.

    "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."

    Ballesteros was diagnosed with the tumor after collapsing recently at the Madrid airport.

    In a prepared statement, Ballesteros said, "Throughout my career, I have been among the best at overcoming challenges on the golf course. Now I want to be the best confronting the hardest challenge of my life, with all my strength."

    Ballesteros retired last year with 49 victories on the European Tour and nine on the PGA Tour. Included in that are two Masters titles and three Open Championships.

    Zach Johnson Back to Winning Ways

    Remember Zach Johnson? He's the good-looking, fair-haired boy from the heart of America who captured the 2007 Masters and then backed it up later in the year with a victory at the AT&T Classic and was well on his way — we were told, anyway — to greatness.

    Well, it didn't turn out that way. Coming into the Texas Open he had one top-10 finish this year and had virtually fallen off the golf radar, thanks mostly to putting woes.

    Johnson, 32, salvaged his season when he fired a 64 in round four of the Texas Open for the surprise victory. On the final day, he had seven birdies and a bogey, to finish 19-under on the par-70 layout.

    Johnson's 64 was hardly the best of the day as The Resort Course at La Cantera Country Club in San Antonio was eviscerated. Charlie Wi (61) finished two shots back of Johnson and tied with Mark Wilson (63) and Tim Wilkinson (64). Stephen Ames put up a 62 to finish tied for sixth. Steve Elkington, who finished 10 shots off the lead, also notched a 61.

    Johnson said he tried to revive his game during a long layoff prior to Texas.

    "I made the commitment; I had six weeks off or seven, whatever it was. Much of that was forced off, and some of it was choice," he said.

    "I made the commitment to go back to what I used to do, the way I'm supposed to do it and ball-striking and putting, and I didn't anticipate hitting me this quick but, you know, it certainly helped."

    Defending champion Justin Leonard, who has won the Texas Open three times, finished eight shots off the pace on 11-under.

    D.A. Weibring Wins Senior Players Championship

    The first time D.A. Weibring teed it up in a major was the 1979 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club. He finished tied for 19th as Seve Ballesteros hoisted the Claret Jug.

    For his career, Weibring was 0-64 in majors on the PGA and Champions tours, but the drought ended in the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship at the East Course of the Baltimore Country Club at Five Farms. He made clutch par putts on the 17th and 18th holes for a 9-under-par total, one clear of Fred Funk.

    Weibring, 55, tried so hard to hold back tears after the final putt that it appeared he'd bite through his lower lip. "I've always been a little bit emotional, but it's meaningful for me. I can't help it," Weibring said.

    Weibring said words of encouragement from his daughter-in-law Stephanie, who is married to Matt Weibring, a member of the Nationwide Tour, helped to keep his nerves calm.

    "She really has become our little sports psychologist," Weibring said. "She gives Matt a thought or two every day when he goes out to play or practice, and she's been doing that with me. It was real basic stuff: 'Play with confidence. Enjoy being in this position. Have fun.'"

    Funk also received advice prior to the final 18, but his came from his wife Sharon.

    "I went out today with a whole different positive attitude," Funk said. "Instead of being mad, I just went out and enjoyed the walk, the golf, and the competition. I think my wife probably wore out the battery in her cell phone last night calling me and telling me to get my head out of my rear."

    Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, and Jeff Sluman all finished two shots back of Weibring.

    Charl Schwartzel Wins Third European PGA Tour

    Think of South African golf and you invariably think of Ernie Els, but countryman Charl Schwartzel deserves some notice as well.

    The 24-year-old Schwartzel recently captured his third European PGA Tour title winning the inaugural Madrid Master by three over Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez.

    It was the second time Schwartzel won in Madrid. He captured the Spanish Open in 2007.

    Schwartzel overcame a sore shoulder and bad cold that almost had him pulling out of the tournament on Friday. His father George told him in a phone conversation to stick it out, and Schwartzel responded by firing a 64 Saturday.

    The European Tour medical staff also received credit from Schwartzel for the work they did on a troublesome shoulder.

    "It was a pinched muscle that was difficult to get at, so the physio boys taped me up to stop me from straining it during the night. This morning it felt fine," he said.

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