Ballesteros was only 19 and virtually unknown when he was thrust into the golf spotlight in July 1976. He was on the final hole of the British Open at Royal Birkdale, on England’s western coast, when he hit a brilliant chip shot between two bunkers that landed four feet from the cup. He then sank his putt to tie Jack Nicklaus for second place behind Johnny Miller after having led for three rounds.
That daring chip, and the shots before it that rescued him after wild drives into dunes and bushes, caught the golf world’s attention and defined the kind of game that made Ballesteros one of the finest players of his era.
With a passion for perfection, an uncommon intensity and a brilliant short game, Ballesteros won five major championships in a 10-year span. At Augusta National in 1980, he became the first European and, at 23, the youngest player to win the Masters. (Tiger Woods then became the youngest in 1997 when he won the Masters at 21.) Ballesteros won the Masters again in 1983, captured the British Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988, and won the World Match Play Championship five times.
“I think he comes as close to a complete player as anybody I’ve ever seen,” his fellow golfer Ben Crenshaw told Sports Illustrated in 1985. “He can hit every shot in the bag and do it with the style and look of a champion.”
Ballesteros won 45 events on the European Tour, and he was its earnings leader six times. He was in the vanguard of world-class Spanish golfers, preceding José Maria Olazábal, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Sergio García. But he saw limited action in the United States, winning four PGA Tour events in addition to his Masters triumphs.
Excerpt taken from The New York Times
Seve Ballesteros was born April 9th 1957 in Spain, and spent 61 weeks through out his career as the top ranked Golfer in the world. He was a charismatic and an all around gentlemen. He was diagnosed with a Brain tumor October 12, 2008 after having lost consciousness and having been admitted to the hospital 6 days prior. He continued to battle the cancer for the next 3 years. And it comes with a heavy heart for this caveman to announce that he passed away Saturday.
In a moment of tribute to this great golfer, check out one of his many highlight reels: