Wednesday, April 08, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jose Maria Olazabal, longtime friend and Ryder Cup partner to the ailing two-time Masters winner Seve Ballesteros, read an emotional letter from the cancer-stricken Spanish star at Tuesday night's Champions Dinner.Craig Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, said Olazabal delivered encouraging news about Ballesteros, who has spent this year battling a malignant brain tumor."He's doing pretty good, according to Jose," said Stadler, who attended the dinner. "He's doing chemo again now, but Jose said he's doing very well, recovering well. They're pretty sure they got it all. They just have to do another round of chemo, which was all part of the original thing, I guess. I was under the impression that this was a new [tumor] that popped up, but it doesn't sound like it."Stadler is one of many players thinking about the conspicuously absent Ballesteros this week."He hit the goddamndest shot I ever saw when I was playing with him in Japan one year," Stadler said. "He hit this shot from under a tree to about a foot. All you remember are recovery shots. He was better from [trouble] than he was from the fairways. It was fun as hell to watch him play."The letter served as a reminder of how fleeting life can be."Jose Maria read it with great affection," Gary Player said. "[Ballesteros] was the Arnold Palmer of Europe. I still remember when he won here. When he saw me after the tournament he said, 'Gary, you taught me how to win the Masters.' When I see people get sick, it's heartbreaking. He's still young, and all of the sudden he gets a tumor in his brain."

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