Seve Ballesteros is one of the most renowned golfers in the world. After his tragic passing in 2011 his name only got more notoriety. As one of the biggest and best pro golf champions we’ve ever had. It’s time to reflect on what made him so great. Uncover some of those interesting facts that not many knew about him.
Seve Ballesteros was one of those sporting personalities that will never be forgotten. And even for those who didn’t follow the game of golf closely, they will know his name.
The Spanish golfing superstar had a charisma and charm that is rare to come across in world of golf. Before his untimely death at age 54 he had racked up quite an impressive history in the sport.
Although Seve had retired years before he passed away, still had many years of impressive wins to boast about.
Coming from a family who took golfing very seriously. It seemed there was no other way for Seve to go even if he tried. But thankfully he was naturally skilled at sport and managed a successful and longtime career out of it.
A Family Who Golfs Together
It’s rare to find a pro golfer who doesn’t have a very early start. With their favorite sport, and this is no different in the case of Seve.
Born in Pedrena, Cantabria in Spain, 1957, Seve was part of a family with four other brothers. One of his brothers passed away, but the rest, including Seve, had a keen interest in golf.
Seve’s uncle was Ramon Sota, another professional Spanish golfer. Who had been champion four times. As well as competing in the Masters Tournament in 1965 in sixth place.
His brothers Baldomero and Vincent went on to become professional golfers. As did his younger nephew Raul. It’s clear to see that golf was a passion that runs deep in the Ballesteros family. As they were all naturally skilled at the sport.
Unlike most people who learn to play golf on greens. Seve learned to play on the beach. He used to skip school regularly to take up his favorite passion. And used a 3-iron that his older brother had gifted him when he was just eight years old.
After years of practice and dedication to the sport. He was finally ready to turn professional when he turned 16 years old.
seve ballesteros Early Career
In 1976, Seve made his appearance on the international tour scene. Took home the second place prize at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.
During the final round. He ended up tied with Jack Nicklaus and was beat by Johnny Miller with only six shots. From there, his name began to be recognized and his charisma also helped him stand out on the green.
From there, he won the Euoprne Tour Order of Merit three years in a row. In 1979, he won his first Open Championship with a shot that will forever go down in golfing history.
During his closing on round 70, he hit his shot into a carpark on the 16th hole. With everyone thinking it was over for him. However, he managed to make a birdie, and leave an impression on spectators and world that would last forever.
During his career, Seve won five major championships along with many other amazing achievements and wins. His biggest wins were two Masters Tournaments in 1980 and 1983. As well as three wins in The Open Championship in 1979, 1984, and 1988.
For most of the time during the 1980s and 1990s. Ballesteros spent a lot of time on the European Ryder Cup team. Was a constant in the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings for from 1977 to 1991.
Later Career and Subsequent Retirement
In 1999, he was inducted into the hall of fame. And was ranked in 2000 by Golf Digest as the 16th greatest player of all time. In terms of European players, he is still considered to be the best.
However, his game had slowed down somewhat and he needed to set his sights elsewhere.
Ballesteros began to suffer from back problems towards the end of his career. As such he wasn’t seen playing as often as fans were used to.
However, in 2005, he attempted a comeback at the Madrid Open. But was unsuccessful making the cut the following year. As he tried to get on the circuit for the 2006 Open Championship.
In July 2007, Seve announced his official retirement from golf after ongoing problems with his back that were preventing him from playing at the level he was used to. There were reports in the Spanish news that he had attempted to commit suicide which he vehemently denied, stating the rumors were “not even close to reality”.
After his retirement, Seve still managed to keep a public profile and was continually involved in the world of golf. He was a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, was a respected golf course designer, and his very public divorce brought him back into the headlines as well.
The Pro Golfer’s Untimely Death
In 2008, Seve Ballesteros was at the Madrid-Barajas Airport when he lost consciousness and was admitted to hospital. Just a few days later, it was revealed that he had a malignant brain tumor which would be removed shortly after during a 12-hour surgery.
A spokesperson for the hospital where the surgery was performed stated that they removed a small part of the tumor which was later classified as cancerous.