View From the Spire: Seve Ballesteros 1957 – 2011
May 8, 2011 1 Comment
It was a sad day for sport yesterday as the Ballesteros family announced the passing of five time major winner, and golfs most charismatic legend, Severiano Ballesteros.
The Spaniard, who was 54, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning after a protracted battle with cancer. The battle prevented Seve from attending the 125th Celebrations of the Open Championship at St Andrews which also included the launch of the Seve Academy – the worlds leading golf improvement platform.
His health also prevented him from physically attending the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor late in 2010 but Seve was still involved and was instrumental in inspiring the team to victory by video phone and was a key crucial member of the back room staff that brought the Samual Ryder trophy back to the Europeans.
Ballesteros, who claimed 87 titles over his career, won the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Augusta Masters in 1980, repeating the feat in 1983.
He also enjoyed a successful Ryder Cup career as both player and captain – playing in eight Ryder Cups and winning 20 points from 37 matches before guiding Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997.
But it was his daring and flamboyant style that made Ballesteros special, transforming the image of golf and bringing a whole new audience to the sport. BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter said: “No golfer did more to popularise the game in Europe than Seve Ballesteros.
“He was a fighter – feisty, skilful, cheeky and loveable. When Seve was in a good mood the world was happy. He played a fearless, exciting and charismatic brand of the game. It thrilled sport fans all over the world.” Peter Alliss BBC golf commentator
“It’s a sad day,” world number one Lee Westwood said on Twitter. “Lost an inspiration, genius, role-model, hero and friend. Seve made European golf what it is today. RIP Seve.”