Hasta Siempre, Seve
Most saddening news in the golf world overnight.
Seve Ballesteros, the celebrated and widely admired Spanish golfer, finally succumbed to the brain cancer that first felled him at the Madrid airport in 2008.
I was a wee lad when Ballesteros came on to the scene, just learning the game of golf myself, but over the last 30 years, few professional golfers came to be so widely admired and loved as he.
Known as a shotmaker’s shotmaker, Jack Nicklaus mentions in this New York Times’ coverage of Ballesteros’ death “he could get up and down out of a garbage can. He could do anything with a golf club and a golf ball.”
And often did. In 1979, he won his first Royal Lytham by purposely playing a shot into, and then out of, a parking lot because that’s where the prevailing winds were.
As a golfer, I can only say to laypeople who don’t play the game that, in most cases, parking lots are where you want to pick up or drop off your clubs, not fire off a shot in the British Open.
The prevailing golf winds over this particular weekend, which with some karma somehow features the Spanish Open in Barcelona, are going to be saddened by Ballesteros’ passing with golf fans around the globe.
A minute’s moment of silence was held at the start of the day’s round in Barcelona, where celebrated Spanish golfers José María Olazábal and Miguel Ángel Jiménez were said to share tears and hugs before and during today’s round.
I will share in that sadness, but also try to remember that fantastic, brilliant gleaming smile that Seve would flash to the world when he made a great shot, or sometimes, a not-so-great shot.
He was a true gentleman who helped bring Europe greater recognition and participation into what’s known to be a gentleman’s game — his presence will be missed.
Hasta siempre, Seve.