Saturday, May 7, 2011

Golf Loses a Giant

Category:  Sports News/Obituary

Seve Ballesteros lost his two and a half year battle with brain cancer today (5/7).  Ballesteros died at his home in Pedrena, Spain less than a day after his family announced that his condition had taken a "dramatic turn for the worse."

Ballesteros was to the European tour what Arnold Palmer is to golf in America, or what Gary Player is to the sport in South Africa.  He was an icon not only in his native Spain but throughout Europe.  He was the first European to slip the coveted Green Jacket, the prize for winning the Masters, on his shoulders.  Overall, he won five majors (three British Opens and two Masters).  Additionally, he won fifty European PGA events, more than anyone on the European tour.  He captained the European Ryder Cup in 1997, the year it was played in Spain for the first time, leading the Europeans to victory.

It was Ballesteros' seemingly impossible shots that made him a legend.  A slice in the woods wasn't a reason to cuss and slam his club (the way some people do), it was an opportunity to invent a new shot.  Archive footage airing on the sports tributes showed Ballesteros hitting a ball nearly 200 yards -- from his knees in the woods.

2010 Masters champion Phil Mickelson paid tribute to Ballesteros at this year's Masters Champions dinner.  The defending champion picks the menu for the dinner, and to honor Ballesteros Mickelson's dinner had a Spanish theme with a bilingual menu.

Spain has lost one of its most iconic figures, and golf has lost a superb player who was tremendously under-appreciated in this country.

Seve Ballesteros was only 54.

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