08 May, 2011

Golf world says 'Goodbye' to "Father of Modern European Tour:"

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This is how we'll remember the ever emotive Seve Ballesteros
"The sporting world has lost a genius, role model, inspiration ...and hero,"
- World #1 Lee Westwood

Tiger Woods didn't invent golf's fist pump
His death brought the ever stoic Sir Nick Faldo to tears on live TV.  He died from a brain tumor at the far too early age of 54; but it is in life that Severiano 'Seve' Ballesteros will forever be remembered.  Ever since he burst onto the pro golf scene as a precocious 17 year old; Seve forever changed the seemingly forever staid golf world which he inhabited. 
'My greatest moment' - lapping up the plaudits: 1984 British Open

 "He did the impossible and didn't think it was impossible,"
- 1969 Open Champion Tony Jacklin

Legends of previous eras would surely have frowned on Seve's passionate and stirring behaviour but Seve didn't care and the golf world grew to love him for it.  The man who wears red on Sundays (Tiger Woods) wasn't the inventor of golf's "fist pump"; it was of course, Seve; the man who could almost literally draw blood from a stone, such was the depth of charisma.

Seve oversaw Europe's 1997 Ryder Cup win as captain
"Seve is why I am where I am today.  He gave me the love of the game,"
- World #2 Martin Kymer

Seve won five Major Championships (3 British Opens and 2 US Masters) but it was the Ryder Cup that Seve came into his own.  Europe hadn't won a Ryder Cup tournament in the previous 11 attempts until Ballesteros came on the scene to play a major part in winning four of the seven inter - continental Cups in which he particpiated.  The scenes where he ran across the green at the final hole of the 1995 event to embrace his 'nemesis' Nick Faldo was probably the most emotional moment of his career.
Seve with his people
"All of my victories were thanks to the support of the people.  They were my 15th club," - Seve Ballesteros

Seve was a gallery's dream.   The fact is that he couldn't drive the ball.  Well, for sure he couldn't drive the ball straight; but his ability to scrabble and save apparently lost causes, turning seeming double bogey into biridie and is what made him the golfing great he was.
More than anything: people took Seve to their hearts and he responded to their love and affection.  He didn't come from the wealthy upper classes whose daddy sent their sons to the driving range as a 'trophy' to illustrate their riches.   Seve played with just a battered 3-iron until he turned 12 years old.  Seve would wink at people in the gallery and acknowledge their presence.  He fed off that rapport.  For this and so much more, the world of sport will truly never be the same again now that Seve is gone.  It's not often a man can say that he truly changed the field which definied him, but Seve is one of that rare breed.  He gave golf to the masses and not just the privileged minority and for that he will never be forgotten.
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