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Seve Ballesteros to make Champions Tour debut in May

Five-times major winner Seve Ballesteros will make his Champions Tour debut at next month's Regions Charity Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, the Tour said on Monday.

Spaniard Ballesteros, one of the most gifted and charismatic players to have graced the game, became eligible for the U.S. seniors circuit after turning 50 on April 9.

"The Champions Tour just received another dose of charisma with the exciting news of Seve's debut at the Regions Charity Classic, one of our premier events," Tour president Rick George said in a statement.

"Seve is the third member of our 'Class of 2007' to become eligible for our Tour and he continues the momentum started when Nick Price and Mark O'Meara joined us earlier this year."

Like Ballesteros, Zimbabwean Price and American O'Meara are multiple major winners.

Twice Masters champion Bernhard Langer, on August 27, and 1988 PGA Championship winner Jeff Sluman, on September 11, will also become eligible for the U.S. seniors tour later this year.

Regarded by many as the greatest shot-maker in history, Ballesteros has thrilled golf fans across the globe with his swashbuckling style, magical touch around the green, creativity and passion for the game.

The Spanish Matador, as he is affectionately known, won three British Opens and two Masters titles in a glittering career.

Along with Briton Tony Jacklin, he was chiefly responsible for reviving Europe's waning fortunes in the biennial Ryder Cup team competition.

However, Ballesteros has had to battle arthritis and knee problems in recent years and, with his once sublime golf skills fading, has struggled to string together four decent rounds.

He has not made the cut at the Masters, one of his favorite tournaments, since 1996 and battled to scores of 86 and 80 on his most recent appearance there this month.


April 17, 2007

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