Hearing the news of Seve Ballesteros death, I immediately close my eyes and imagine my golfing hero as I read about him. The little boy from Pedrena, Spain realized his dream and would spent countless hours on the beach holding a three iron, barefooted, hitting pebbles instead of golf balls. He learned to hit all kinds of shots with his only golf club, 3 iron, high, low, and even the curving ones. Seve Ballesteros mastered the sport and was not only a genius, legend or a unique talent but also won the hearts of people.
It was his laughters’ that ignite the golf course and his great smile that never seemed to abandon his face. Seve Ballesteros had it all, the passion, charisma and raw talent… that is the makeup of a champion. The Spaniard changed the game of golf entirely and created so many shots he only imagined to play. He showed the world the he was a boy from a village in northern Spain as everyone knew Golf was only accessible to wealthy people…. Seve changed the perspective.
Seve Ballesteros turned pro at the age of 16 and just 5 years later at the 1979 British Open he won his first out of his 5 major championships and he did it in character landing a shot from a parking place under the 16th green and earning the nickname Car-Park Champion.
Ballesteros became the first European to ever win the Masters in 1980 and added another title 3 years later. Through the 80s and the 90s Seve became the heart and soul for European Ryder Cup teams.
Ben Crenshaw once said “Seve played shots I don’t even see in my dreams!”
Yes, his ball was not always straight he wished the fairways to be narrower so everyone will get in the rough not just him. His shots were everywhere, under the tree, next to the water, half in bunker and half out, but people knew wherever his ball will land he will still win it because he simply was the best.
“I look into their eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, 'I am going to bury you.”
It is depressing to see so many young players didn’t get the chance to meet him. His passion for the game is what made him literally a legend. I close my eyes and imagine him on the beach looking at the target couple of times, head on the ball and hitting it with love and great enthusiasm.
People not only cared about what titles he won, but how he won them with style and flare that will live in the mind’s eye.
He counted his last days as if he knew that was it. Seve gathered with his family and whispered in their ears. “I love you all.” That was it.
On 7th May 2011 Ballesteros played the last round of his life, and went to the 19th hole without signing his card… This was the only battle he lost but not even his prodigious courage would allow him to beat.
Age 54 is too young to die, but as they say “The good die young.” Seve was such a great inspiration not only for golfing fans, players and supporters but also for the world. His fighting spirit, humor and Charisma brought laughter and happy times. He changed everything when he walked in the room and brought excitement in every tournament he played in.
Seve Ballesteros brought music and dancing to golf. He changed the perspective on worldwide golf; it is no longer intense and boring but passion and beauty of excitement and flavor.
To Seve: “A true golfing hero you were & will still be…. Golf would never be the same without you…”