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Ballesteros is final addition to World Matchplay

Seve Ballesteros, who has not won since 1995 and missed the cut in all but two tournaments this year, was added to the 12-man field Monday for the World Match Play Championship.

Ballesteros will play Mike Weir of Canada in the first round Thursday at Wentworth.

``I'm not afraid of competing against anybody,'' Ballesteros said. ``In match play, if I have a good day I can beat anybody. I have proved over the years I am a very strong competitor.''

The World Match Play, which invites only the top players to compete in 36-hole matches, will not include an American in the field for the first time.

Several players declined offers because of concerns playing overseas after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The last hope was John Daly, a runner-up Sunday in the German Masters.

Mark McCormack of IMG, which stages the tournament, said organizers declined Daly's request for a private plane to return home after the matches.

``We wouldn't do that,'' McCormak said. ``We have always withstood paying appearance money or other inducements, and that is still our policy.''

Daly said last week he preferred to play in Las Vegas this week because it offers a $4.5 million purse and he is trying to finish in the top 40 on the PGA Tour money list, which would qualify him for the Masters.

Ballesteros hardly fits the role of players the World Match Play typically attracts.

While the 44-year-old Spaniard is a three-time British Open and two-time Masters champion, he hasn't won in six years and has fallen to No. 1,187 in the world ranking.

Ballesteros is guaranteed last-place money of $73,500 -- seven times more than he has earned this year.

He will be making his 20th appearance in the World Match Play, tying the record set by Gary Player. Ballesteros also tied Player's record for most victories when he won his fifth Match Play title in 1991.

In other first-round matches, Nick Faldo will play Padraig Harrington; Ian Woosnam takes on U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen; and Thomas Bjorn plays Adam Scott.

Vijay Singh, Darren Clark, Colin Montgomerie and defending champion Lee Westwood have byes in the first round.


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