The Seve Ballesteros Foundation will be the chosen charity for next month’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, a fitting celebration for the 20th anniversary of the great Spaniard’s last victories at the famous Surrey venue.
Seve Ballesteros, who mastered Wentworth’s West Course in 1991 to secure his second PGA Championship, beating Colin Montgomerie in a play-off, and the World Match Play Championship with a 3 and 2 victory over Nick Price, launched his Foundation in 2009, a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Since his diagnosis Ballesteros has undergone four operations as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy on the tumour, which was the size of two golf balls when first detected.
In partnership with Cancer Research UK, the Seve Ballesteros Foundation (SBF) aims to help others with the disease and fund research to improve treatments. In its first year the Foundation raised more than £700,000 which has been invested in life-saving research.
The 54 year old’s enduring popularity in the golfing world is evidenced by the fact that European Tour players requested through the Tour Players Foundation, the charitable arm of The European Tour, that his charity is supported at the Tour’s flagship event and throughout the week, fundraising activity will be taking place to benefit the SBF.
An invitational fundraising event called Olé Seve! will take place on Monday May 23, hosted by Wentworth Club owner Richard Caring and George O’Grady, The European Tour Chief Executive. The event will feature 24 teams in a shot-gun Pro-Am, followed by a cocktail party and charity auction.
The fundraising will continue with a Hit the Green competition during the Wednesday Pro-Am preceding the BMW PGA Championship, and throughout the week spectators will be asked to make donations to the SBF in exchange for the Official Championship Programme and daily Draw Sheet. Donations will be matched by the Tour Players Foundation, encouraging spectators to give generously.
Ballesteros said: “I am very happy that my Foundation in partnership with Cancer Research UK is the official charity of the BMW PGA Championship. Thank you all for supporting the funding of the investigation into brain cancer. I have many great memories from Wentworth and wish all the players the very best of luck. My best wishes to everyone.
“Thousands of others suffer from this severe illness every day but manyare not so fortunate to fight the disease. This is the reason why my family and I decided to create the Seve Ballesteros Foundation and contribute to help others.”