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Seve Ballesteros targets 2006 comeback

Seve Ballesteros has targeted a full playing schedule on the 2006 European Tour after chronic back injury last year briefly confined him to a wheelchair while undergoing treatment.

The five-times major champion, who has not played tournament golf for two years, plans to make his competitive comeback at next month's Madrid Open at Club de Campo where he believes he can win.

"Only winning will satisfy me. You don't think it is possible? It is very possible," the 48-year-old Ballesteros said on Wednesday, the day before start of the biennial Seve Trophy team competition.

"I'm feeling very good physically and I've been practising.

"The game is progressing better and better every day and I feel great. I'm on track for Madrid. I know where I am and I know which way I'm going.

The Spaniard's last victory, the Spanish Open, came at the same Club de Campo venue 10 years ago. However, he has not played a serious tournament since he captained Continental Europe at the last Seve Trophy in November 2003.

After an encouraging pro-am round before this year's event, Ballesteros said he was prepared to return to the European team should anyone pull out through injury.

"My rhythm was good today, I hit some great shots and it was very good," added the Spaniard, who handed over the captaincy of Continental Europe to compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal.

"A lot of things will be happening in the near future. Time will be the judge."

Ballesteros said it would "not at all" be a surprise if played at next year's U.S. Masters and British Open. The former world number one has won two Masters titles and three Open crowns during his glittering career.

However, it is the second time the Spaniard has been optimistic about making an injury comeback.

After being left crippled and bedridden with back problems early last year, his planned return at the start of this season was put on hold after he injured his knee when he slipped on a practice mat at San Roque.

After years of being plagued with back problems, he believes he is now injury-free.

"I'm fine," he said. "I can get through the ball, I played fantastic today."

 

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