Golf: Hurt Ballesteros takes a rest

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The Independent Online
Seve Ballesteros may not play again this season following a disastrous seven over par 79, in the second round of the Deutsche Bank Open in Hamburg yesterday. Combined with his first-round 77, it meant that the legendary Spaniard missed the half-way cut for the eighth time in 10 tournaments this year.

Ballesteros, who has also been suffering from back trouble, is pulling out of the European Grand Prix at Slaley Hall next week and added: "I don't know when I shall play again. I have not decided. My back is not too bad but I have no confidence. I have not been able to play this year. The rhythm is not there. My concentration is not there. So I'm not going to play next week."

The 40-year-old, who finished the day 17 shots behind leader Van Phillips, has been to see Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, the doctor whose treatment has enabled compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal to return to the tournament circuit after an 18-month absence. But Ballesteros said: "I am very happy for Jose-Maria, but this guy has not been able to help me."

There has also been speculation that he may decide to have an operation to see if his back problem can be permanently cured but Ballesteros merely shrugged: "I need a rest."

Yet he has great pride and, having won 72 tournaments in a professional career beginning in 1974, it would not be surprising if he called a halt to tournament play altogether.

While Phillips, a 25-year-old former Walker Cup player, shot a four under par 68 to lead Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin and Italian Emanuele Canonica by one shot there was more drama on the course.

Bernhard Langer suffered back trouble while out on the course, finished his second round in 76 and then suffered back spasms during a visit to the physio. He also saw the tournament doctor and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Langer just failed to make the half-way cut by one shot when he finished on 147, three over par overall, and two other big names, Lee Westwood and Italian Costantino Rocca, also went out on the same score.

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