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Ballesteros: The legend lives on – a tribute to Seve

  • It has been nine years since Seve Ballesteros died, leaving an indelible mark on the sport of golf.
Omnisport
NEWS
News
Modified 07 May 2020, 12:30 IST
BallesterosOlazabalCropped
Seve Ballesteros (left) and Jose Maria Olazabal

Seve Ballesteros, who died on May 7, 2011, was a singular talent.

Playing a sport not universally loved, he somehow had a universal appeal.

He was a great entertainer. His passion and charisma lent him an aura few can match.

Ballesteros' gift was apparent from an early age, the young Spaniard showing his creative flare by hitting pebbles with a wood-shafted three-iron on a beach near his home.

It is little wonder he would go on to become arguably golf's most inventive player, able to execute shots most could not even envisage.

Flamboyant and swashbuckling, Ballesteros had a style all his own, with Tiger Woods lauding his genius.

"Seve was one of the most talented and exciting golfers to ever play the game," Woods said in a tribute shortly after Ballesteros died of brain cancer.

"His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed."

That craft and guile served him so well that Ballesteros became a serial winner, with 90 titles to his name, including five majors.

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His influence on the European Tour, on which he won a record 50 tournaments, cannot be overstated.

Players today owe him a huge debt of gratitude, with Ballesteros popularising the sport across the continent and beyond, becoming the first European to win the Masters when he triumphed at Augusta in 1980.

Europe itself, as a sporting entity in the Ryder Cup, meant a great deal to him, and Ballesteros was a talismanic figure for his team.

From 37 matches he claimed 22.5 points and is widely regarded as Europe's most iconic team member, leading them to victory as captain in his home nation in 1997.

His presence is still felt in modern editions, with 2012 captain and close friend Jose Maria Olazabal citing Ballesteros' influence on Team Europe's stunning comeback win at Medinah.

Crying as he spoke, Olazabal said: "Our team played in the spirit of Seve without ever giving up. You believed and you delivered and I'm proud that you have kept Europe's hand on this Ryder Cup."

Ballesteros' was diagnosed with a brain tumour after collapsing at Madrid airport in 2008. He underwent three operations over more than 20 hours. A spell in intensive care and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed, all helping to extend his life while simultaneously sapping at his energy.

He passed away nine years ago, at the age of 54, and the world of golf lost its brightest star. 

Published 07 May 2020, 12:30 IST
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