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Tour News (posted 25th May 1998)

Injury-hit Seve turns back the clock

Wentworth, Surrey - Seve Ballesteros today proved to his army of fans that it is not time yet to write him off as a has-been.
Despite pain from back, foot, elbow and neck Ballesteros declared it was "just like the old days" as he used his putter just 24
times in a round of 65 at the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth.

It gave him dreams of ending three barren years without a victory, although the 40-year-old Spanish superstar then eloquently summed up his feelings when he added: "I don't like to sell the skin before I kill the rabbit."

In other words, he is not yet ready to celebrate the end of the worst slump of his glittering career. But for the first time in 19 months he goes into the final round of a tournament with a chance to win.

The former Open and US Masters champion was out in front after finishing his round with a seventh birdie to go with the 15-foot eagle putt he had rolled in on the long fourth but the overnight leaders were only just setting out then.

"Usually when I have a chance I don't give it away that easily," said Ballesteros, sitting on the eight under par mark of 208.
"I think I can handle the pressure and if I play well it's possible I can win. I would take 11 under right now."

Wentworth is the course where he has won five World Matchplay titles in addition to the 1980 Martini International and 1991
PGA crown, when he beat Colin Montgomerie in a memorable play-off.

Yet he might not even have been playing today had he opted for the safe par five he thought he needed on the last hole yesterday to survive the halfway cut.

The axe fell instead at one under and Ballesteros, who almost holed his second shot for an albatross, said: "Good thing I birdied."

In true Seve fashion, the drama did not end there. After going out in 31 and adding further birdies at the 10th and 12th injury

"I pulled a muscle in my neck making a practice swing on the 14th and felt a crack. I couldn't swing a club for a moment,
but I got my caddie to give me a massage. It felt quite uncomfortable playing the last few holes, though."

He is already wearing a support on his left elbow and, with back and foot ailments as well, the combination of malfunctioning
parts showed with some wayward drives. But his short game came to his rescue as it has so often in the past.

"I prefer to see myself on the fairway, but I've always been unpredictable and think people like to see that. It makes me
happy to give pleasure.

"The people have always supported me in this country and I felt great seeing them so excited."

On his struggles to climb out of his slump his 136th position on the Order of Merit last year was his worst ever and he has
missed five cuts in his previous seven tournaments Ballesteros stated: "I don't have to answer anything to anybody about my

"I've won nearly everything in golf and I don't have to prove anything to anyone. Seeing so many people supporting me and enjoying watching brings me energy and motivation.

"If people think I am finished, what can I do? They are probably right, but maybe they are wrong. Time will be the judge."
Press Association