Seve Ballesteros remains seriously ill in hospital and is undergoing a third operation in Madrid to reduce brain swelling following the discovery of a tumour earlier this month.

Despite showing signs of improvement, the Spanish legend has suffered some complications since his admission to La Paz Hospital on 6 October.

And despite reassuring his huge army of fans across the world that he was on the mend, the 51-year-old’s condition is clearly still serious and today’s operation should reveal the true extent of his illness.

Friday’s surgery got underway at 0930 BST and is expected to last all day. The golfing world is praying that the five-time Major winner recovers to return to the game he’s done so much for.

A hospital statement said Ballesteros has an oligoastrocytoma, which is a tumour composed of two types of brain cell.

Last year Ballesteros retired due to consistent, nagging injuries, but his love of the game has seen him focus on course design.

The new ambassador of MD Golf became unwell on route to a golf exhibition in Germany, and since then the sport has largely been on hold hoping that the legend makes a quick recovery.

Further medical bulletins on the Spaniard’s condition are expected later today.