Spanish golf great Seve Ballesteros dies at 54MADRID - Seve Ballesteros was a genius with a golf club in his hands, an inspiration to everyone who saw him create shots that didn’t seem possible. The Spaniard’s passion and pride revived European golf and made the Ryder Cup one of the game’s most compelling events.
Ballesteros, a five-time major champion whose incomparable imagination and fiery personality made him one of the most significant figures in modern golf, died Saturday from complications of a cancerous brain tumor. He was 54.
His career was defined not only by what he won, but how he won.
“He was the greatest show on earth,’’ Nick Faldo said.
Tiger Woods said on Twitter: “Seve was one of the most talented and excited golfers to ever play the game. His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed. His death came much too soon.’’
A statement on Ballesteros’ Web site early Saturday said he died peacefully at 2:10 a.m. local time, surrounded by his family at his home in Pedrena. It was in this small Spanish town where Ballesteros first wrapped his hands around a crude 3-iron and began inventing shots that he would display on some of golf’s grandest stages.
“I held his hands, caressed them and thought: ‘what these hands have done in the world,’’’ his brother Baldomero told Spanish agency Efe. “He knew he was dying, and he did it with full presence of mind.
“What is leaving us is more than a brother, a son or a father; what is leaving us is glory.’’
Ballesteros won the Masters at 23, leading by 10 shots at one point in the final round. He was a three-time winner of the British Open, no moment greater than his 1984 victory at St. Andrews.
He was as inspirational in Europe as Arnold Palmer was in America, a handsome figure who feared no shot and often played from where no golfer had ever been.