Posted on 12 December 2009
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In an ironic twist of fate golf legend Seve Ballesteros will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year ceremony on Sunday just as probably the greatest golfer of all-time, Tiger Woods, decides to take a break from golf in the midst of a major backlash from the discovery of his marital infedility.
BBC Sport reported that the 52-year-old Ballestero who won five majors in an illustrious career, has been given the award in recognition of his contribution to the sport. The Spaniard won the Open three times, the Masters twice as well as playing an inspirational role in the Ryder Cup.
Ballesteros is recovering from a brain tumor that required four operations.
Beyond his major victories, Ballesteros has been recognized as the driving force behind the transformation of European golf into a serious rival for the game in the United States.
He played a leading role in Europe’s breakthrough Ryder Cup victory in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. And Ballesteros fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he captained the Europeans to victory over the US in Spain in 1997.
After a total of 87 tournament wins, he retired from golf in 2007 following arthritic back and knee problems late in his career.
The extremely popular and likeable Ballesteros was diagnosed with a brain tumor after briefly losing consciousness at Madrid Airport on 6 October, 2008 and has since undergone surgery four times to remove a tumor in the brain and to reduce swelling in his skull and has lost most of the sight in his left eye.
Ballesteros said earlier this year that “this is the biggest battle of my life, this is the sixth major”.
He is planning a farewell appearance for British fans at the Open next year at St Andrews, the venue where he won the second of his three Claret Jugs in 1984.
In the meantime Tiger Woods who has come under increasing fire for his infidelity has issued a statement on his website in which he said he was aware of the disappointment “my infidelity” had caused his family and that he wanted to “try to rbepair the damage done” and asked for privacy.
He said that “after much soul-searching I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to foc us my attention on being a better husband, father and person.”
He has been married to his wife Elin for five years and they have a two-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son.
In a statement the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour said it supported the golfer’s decision, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the celebrity’s “priorities are where they need to be”.
“We look forward to Tiger’s return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him,” he said.
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