Jose Maria Olazabal in attendance for planned Augusta tribute to Seve Ballesteros

 

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The Independent Online

The death of Seve Ballesteros will be remembered at the annual Masters champions dinner in Augusta tonight.

Jose Maria Olazabal, with whom Ballesteros formed the most lethal partnership in Ryder Cup history, is among those present for what is sure to be a emotional moment.

"There is always a mention during the dinner of the players who have passed away in the year just gone," Olazabal told Press Association Sport.

"It's one of the beauties of this place that they show their respect to those we have lost."

Olazabal, now Europe's Ryder Cup captain, has overcome a cracked bone in his foot to be present and playing in the event that he - like Ballesteros - won twice.

"I was on a treadmill when I felt something and it kept me out of the Open de Andalucia three weeks ago, but I've been able to practise and this is one tournament I always love to play whenever I possibly can."

The 46-year-old missed the event in 1996 as he battled with rheumatism, but won for the second time only three years later.

Ballesteros died last May after being diagnosed with a brain tumour late in 2008. His final Masters appearance came the year before.

Olazabal has often spoken about how much he learnt about Augusta from Ballesteros and now he is the one passing on his knowledge.

He practised yesterday with compatriots Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Quiros is playing his fourth Masters and shared the first-round lead with Rory McIlroy after an opening 65 last year, while Fernandez-Castano is making his debut thanks to being in the world's top 50 at the end of last year.

PA

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