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Seve: one of the greatest, most gifted golfers the world has ever known

Seve Ballesteros: 1957 - 2011

Saturday May 7 2011, 7am.

As the last remaining pages of this issue were sent to press in the early hours of Saturday May 7 it was announced that Seve Ballesteros had finally lost his battle with cancer following the brain tumour first diagnosed in October 2008. According to the five-time major champion’s official website, Seve passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family at his lifelong family home in Pedreña. He was 54.

It was the news none of us ever wanted to hear but increasingly feared we would. Seve’s condition had worsened just three days earlier, during – by unfortunate coincidence – the week of the Spanish Open in Barcelona, where he had won the last of his 87 career titles in 1995. Word quickly spread that Ballesteros's situation had taken a critical downturn. Jose Maria Olazábal was too emotional to speak to the media in the aftermath of his second round – “I can’t talk,” Olazábal said. “I can only wait, and cry.”

As the sporting world mourns the passing of a true legend, European golf wakes up today to the realisation it has, finally and painfully, lost its talisman. There is no other golfer who can replace him. Seve, the first man from this continent to claim a Masters title (in 1980 – a feat he repeated at Augusta three years later) and a threetime winner of the Open (in 1979, 1984 and 1988) was golf’s natural-born genius. And yet he remained one of us.

In 2010, during his last television interview with the BBC, Ballesteros spoke of fighting cancer. “You can’t have it all in life,” he told Ken Brown. “One day you feel fantastic, the next you never know what is going to happen. You just take a look at how many days of glory I had before. It has been a fantastic life and this, what has happened to me, is what I will call destiny; one test that God is putting on me.”

We dedicate this issue to Seve’s memory. May he rest in peace.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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