Think of Seve Ballesteros as the Arnold Palmer of Europe: a fiery, charismatic, good-looking, swashbuckling, risk-taking player whose star power elevated the European Tour to new levels, and helped Europe achieve equality - ultimately superiority - in the Ryder Cup.
Creativity, imagination and short-game brilliance were the hallmarks of Ballesteros' game. He might miss the fairway off the tee, but at his best, it rarely hurt him. He even made birdie after playing from a parking lot during his 1979 British Open win.
Ballesteros grew up in a golfing family. His three brothers were golf pros; an uncle, Ramon Sota, finished 6th at the 1965 Masters. Ballesteros learned golf at age 7 using a cut-down 3-iron; by 13, he was winning events and shooting 65.
He turned pro in 1974, just 16 years old, and won the Spanish Professionals Championship that year. In 1976, he won five times on the European Tour and claimed the money title. He made up 4 shots on Arnold Palmer at the Lancome Trophy to get the victory; at the British Open, the 19-year-old chased Johnny Miller to the finish before settling for second.
During one stretch of 1978, Ballesteros won six consecutive weeks on three different continents. In 1979, the first of his five majors came at the British Open. He won his next major played, the Masters, but was disqualified from the 1980 U.S. Open when he was late for his tee time.
Controversy and success went hand in hand with Ballesteros. In 1981, he was voted off the European Ryder Cup team for playing too much in America. Then a dispute with the U.S. PGA Tour over playing commitments - Seve wanted to play part-time in America; the Tour said all-or-nothing - led to Ballesteros remaining in Europe full-time.
Ballesteros dominated the European Tour for much of the 1980s, and led Europe to its first big wins in the Ryder Cup. The Seve Trophy, introducted in 2000, is a Ryder Cup-style event that pits teams representing Continental Europe and Great Britain/Ireland.
European Tour wins
• 1976 Dutch Open, Lancome Trophy
• 1977 Open de France, Uniroyal International Championship, Swiss Open
• 1978 Martini International, Braun German Open, Scandinavian Enterprise Open, Swiss Open
• 1979 The Open Championship, Lada English Golf Classic
• 1980 Madrid Open, Martini International, Dutch Open
• 1981 Scandinavian Enterprise Open, Benson and Hedges Spanish Open
• 1982 Cepsa Madrid Open, Paco Rabanne Open de France
• 1983 Sun Alliance PGA Championship, Carroll's Irish Open, Lancome Trophy
• 1984 The Open Championship
• 1985 Carroll's Irish Open Peugeot Open de France, Sanyo Open, Benson and Hedges Spanish Open
• 1986 Dunhill British Masters, Carroll's Irish Open, Johnnie Walker Monte Carlo Open, Peugeot Open de France, KLM Dutch Open, Lancome Trophy
• 1987 Suze Open
• 1988 Mallorca Open de Balleares, The Open Championship, Scandinavian Enterprise Open, German Open, Lancome Trophy
• 1989 Cepsa Madrid Open, Epson Grand Prix of Europe Matchplay Championship, Ebel European Masters Swiss Open
• 1990 Open Renault de Baleares
• 1991 Dunhill British Masters, Volvo PGA Championship
• 1992 Dubai Desert Classic, Turespana Open de Baleares
• 1994 Benson and Hedges International Open, Mercedes German Masters
• 1995 Peugeot Spanish Open
• 1974 Spanish National Championship for under 25s, Open de Vizcaya
• 1975 Spanish National Championship for under 25s
• PGA Tour: 6
• European Tour: 56
• Masters: 1980 and 1983
• British Open: 1979, 1984, 1988
Awards and Honors
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• Named European Player of the Century in 2000
• Named Spanish Sportsman of the Century in 2000
• European Tour scoring leader 6 times
• 8-time member, European Ryder Cup team
• Captain, European team, 1997 Ryder Cup
• Seve Ballesteros: "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.' "
• Tom Kite: "When he gets going, it's almost as if Seve is driving a Ferrari and the rest of us are in Chevrolets."
• Lee Trevino: "Every generation or so there emerges a golfer who is a little bit better than anybody else. I believe Ballesteros is one of them."
• Ben Crenshaw: "Seve plays shots I don't even see in my dreams."
No news available yet. Please check back again tomorrow for some updates.