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Seve Ballesteros says he will retire at 54

Severiano Ballesteros plans to retire from all competitive golf in 2011 when he is 54.

The Spaniard, regarded by many as the most talented European player to grace the game, told Wednesday's Daily Telegraph he would then dedicate his time to designing courses.

The five-times major winner is two years away from qualification for the over-50s U.S. seniors tour but he said he did not plan to extend his career beyond 2011.

"My intention is to compete until I'm 54," Ballesteros said. "So if I join the (seniors) tour, it will only be for four years, no more than that."

"I'm in the golf course design business," he added. "This is my future ... I'd rather go to a place where there is nothing and design a golf course. This will be a good legacy for me to leave."

Ballesteros was bed-ridden with back pain two years ago and it was feared his playing days were over then.

He returned to action last October, although his plans for this year have been set back by a lack of preparation.

"I postponed the start of the season because I made a promise to myself that, unless I feel ready in a decent way, I won't go back," the 48-year-old said.

He plans to play at the British Open and U.S. Masters as well as 10 to 12 European Tour events, starting with the Madeira Open in late March.

"I will be back this year," he said.

February 1, 2006


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