Golf legend Seve Ballesteros underwent a successful third operation last Friday to reduce swelling and remove remnants of a tumour in his brain. The operation, led by chief brain surgeon Javier Heredero at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, lasted more than six hours. In a statement, doctors said the 51-year-old five-time major winner was in a stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Ballesteros was admitted to hospital after briefly losing consciousness at Madrid Airport on October 6th. He was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent surgery, but he needed another operation to relieve pressure on the brain last Tuesday. In an open letter to fans, he acknowledged the seriousness of the illness – saying he faced what he called the “most difficult match” of his life. Ballesteros won 87 titles during his career, including the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and the Masters in 1980 and 1983. He was an instrumental figure in Europe’s Ryder Cup resurgence after making his debut in 1979 when the competition was expanded from Great Britain and Ireland to include players from continental Europe. After controversially being left out in 1981, Ballesteros returned in 1983 and helped Europe beat the United States for the first time in 28 years in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance. He went on to win eight caps, winning 22 and a half points from 37 matches. He also teamed up with countryman Jose Maria Olazabal to form the most successful partnership in Ryder Cup history, with 11 wins, two losses and two halves. After his last appearance as a player in 1995, Ballesteros captained Europe to victory on home soil at Valderrama in 1997. He retired last year following arthritic back and knee problems late in his career, while doctors discovered an irregular heartbeat when he was admitted to hospital in 2007.
The regional government of Aragon and an international consortium signed an agreement last week to develop a huge leisure complex in the Montenegros region, one of the most arid in the country. The complex, called Gran Scala, would have 32 casinos, 70 hotels, 232 restaurants, a race course, a golf course, several fairgrounds and museums, and some 500 shops. It will be built on 2,000 square hectares of land, and work is expected to start next summer. The International Leisure Development will invest 17 billion euros in the project.
A worker at La Zagaleta golf club in San Pedro de Alcántara died on Thursday afternoon last week when the machine he was driving plunged four metres down an embankment. The accident occurred at 1.30 p.m., when the man was using a machine which cuts and waters the grass, and the cause is not yet known. The 45 year old, who is from Genalguacil, was rushed to the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella, but he died a few hours later. Members of the UGT and CC.OO unions held a demonstration on Friday at noon outside the provincial Employment Office to protest at this latest work-related accident.
The Platform in the Defence of Ronda delivered a petition with 10,001 signatures to the Andalucían Ombudsman on Friday, all in favour of plans to build the golf complex at Los Merinos Norte. During the meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, representatives of the group insisted that the project does comply with environmental regulations and would bring wealth to the municipality. The architect who will be overseeing the works gave technical details of how they will be carried out on the site, and several members of the committee gave their reasons for supporting the project. Los Merinos Norte golf course has aroused strong feeling in the Ronda area, as many people fear that it is unsustainable and will cause water supply problems, particularly in Arriate and Cuevas del Becerro. Ecologists also claim that that it contravenes environmental regulations. The Ombudsman, José Chamizo, said after the meeting that his job was to listen to all sides, collate information, and, in due course, make a decision about the matter. He admitted that is a complicated case and said he is worried that the two sides have such completely different views. However, he believes it will be possible to arrive at some points of agreement after due discussion.