Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

Tributes paid to golf legend Seve Ballesteros

(FILE PHOTO) The family of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros have announced on May 6, 2011 that his health is worsening, following his battle with a brain tumour in 2008.19 OCT 1993: SEVE BALLESTEROS OF SPAIN PLAYS A TEE SHOT DURING A SLAZENGER DAY AT WISLEY GOLF CLUB IN SURREY ENGLAND. BALLESTEROS IS SEEN IN SILHOUETTE IN FRONT OF A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET WHILST COMPLETING HIS ROUND.
Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteroshas died at the age of 54
(FILE PHOTO) The family of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros have announced on May 6, 2011 that his health is worsening, following his battle with a brain tumour in 2008.Jose-Maria Olazabal of Spain uses the shoulders of Seve Ballesteros also of Spain to get a better view during the 29th Ryder Cup Matches on 28th September 1991 at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, USA. The USA team defeated Europe with a score of 14.5pts - 13.5pts. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO) The family of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros have announced on May 6, 2011 that his health is worsening, following his battle with a brain tumour in 2008.Jul 1988: Seve Ballesteros in full cry during the British Open at Royal Lytham St Annes Golf Course in England. Ballesteros went on to win the Open title. \ Mandatory Credit: Dave Cannon /Allsport
(FILE PHOTO) The family of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros have announced on May 6, 2011 that his health is worsening, following his battle with a brain tumour in 2008.1984: Seve Ballesteros of Spain holds the Claret Jug aloft after winning the British Open at St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 28 Sep 1997: European team captain Seve Ballesteros proudly holds the trophy after victory over the USA in the Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup at the Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande in Spain. \ Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday /Allsport
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 07: Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain wears a black ribbon on the first tee, following news of the death of Seve Ballesteros, during the third round of the Open de Espana at the Real Club de Golf El Prat on May 7 , 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 Seve Ballesteros of Spain acknowledges the crowd after holing his putt on the 18th green to win the British Open at the Royal Lytham Golf Club in Lancashire, England, July 21, 1979. \ Mandatory Credit: Steve Powell/Allsport
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 Spanish golfer Severiano Ballesteros in his home town of Pedrena, Spain, with the Ryder Cup, June 1997. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 15 Sep 1985: (L to R) Manuel Pinero, Seve Ballesteros, Jose-Maria Canizares and Jose Rivero of the European team hold the trophy after victory over the USA in the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 KILLENARD, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Nick Faldo, Captain of The Great Britain and Ireland Team with Seve Ballesteros, Captain of The European Team during the third day morning greensomes at the Seve Trophy 2007 held at The Heritage Golf and Spa Resort on September 29, 2007 in Killenard, Ireland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO) Spanish Golf Legend Seve Ballesteros Dies At 54.Charismatic former World No. 1, five time Major winner, five time Ryder Cup winner, both as a player and as captainand winner of the European Tour's Order of Merit on six occasions.http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113809426 KILLENARD, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Seve Ballesteros, Captain of The European Team, plays a bunker shot during the Pro-Am for the Seve Trophy 2007 held at The Heritage Golf and Country Club on September 26, 2007 in Killenard, Ireland. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Spanish golfer Severiano "Seve" Ballesteros at the Royal Dublin Golf Club, during the Irish Open, 20th July 1986. The golfing great died May 6, 2011 after a two-year battle following being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, according to published reports. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)
(FILE PHOTO) The family of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros have announced on May 6, 2011 that his health is worsening, following his battle with a brain tumour in 2008.28 Sep 1997: European team captain Seve Ballesteros proudly holds the trophy after victory over the USA in the Johnnie Walker Ryder Cup at the Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande in Spain. \ Mandatory Credit: Rusty Jarrett /Allsport
Seve Ballesteros with the claret jug after winning the 1984 Open
Seve Ballesteros, Captain of The European Team reacts to a putt during the Pro-Am for the Seve Trophy 2007 held at The Heritage Golf and Country Club on September 26, 2007 in Killenard, Ireland.
Seve Ballesteros, left, gets the Masters green jacket from last year's winner, Fuzzy Zoeller, after winning the 1980 Masters in Augusta, Ga., in this April 13, 1980.
Seve Ballesteros: Golf/ At Moyola Park Golf Club. 4/8/1980 All eyes on Seve - and the ball - when he paraded his vast array of skills at Castledawson.
Seve Ballesteros: Golf/ At Moyola Park Golf Club. 4/8/1980 Young autograph hunters surround the Spanish star.
26 Sep 1987: Seve Ballesteros of the European team celebrates with captain Tony Jacklin during the Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village GC in Dublin, Ohio, USA.
Seve Ballesteros tips his visor to the gallery as they sing happy birthday to him on the 9th hole of the Par-3 Tournament, prior to The Masters, at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., in this April 9, 2003
Golf legend Seve Ballesteros waves as he appears in public for the first time after surgery on a cancerous brain tumor next to Racing de Santander's president Miguel Angel Revilla, right, before a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Racing de Santander and Almeria at the Sardinero stadium in Santander, Spain, on Sunday , May 3, 2009.

The world of sport today paid tribute to much-loved golf legend Seve Ballesteros who died this morning aged 54 at his home in Spain after losing his three-year battle against a brain tumour.

The family of the popular Spaniard, who won five majors and was instrumental in growing golf's popularity, announced he had passed away at 1.10am today due to respiratory failure.

Former world No1 player Ballesteros had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008.

Bernard Gallacher, who captained Ballesteros in three Ryder Cups between 1991 and 1995, was among the first to react, saying: “America had Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer — Seve was our Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus rolled into one.

“You can't speak too highly of him, Seve was Europe's best ever player.”

The flags at Real Club de Golf El Prat in Barcelona flew at half-mast in his memory for today's third round of the Spanish Open, while the players wore black ribbons. They also observed a minute's silence.

Julian Small, chief executive of Wentworth Golf Club, where Ballesteros won five titles, said: “Seve was a great champion. He was a swashbuckling man, a handsome man who really entertained the crowd.

“He played such a fantastic game of golf. Wherever Seve went there was always a huge crowd. He saw the West course here at Wentworth as one of his favourite places to play.

“He is the pioneer, he is the person that has changed the shape in many ways — especially with the general public — of European golf. His way of playing, his whole charisma, he brought it to new markets, to new people, to new populations. He is Europe's version of Arnold Palmer, he is the person that really made that big difference.

“It's legendary what he did. To think that Colin Montgomery had him on a speakerphone to the Ryder Cup team last year down is a sign of how the professional golfers were inspired by him.”

“Seve was in many ways the king of the recovery shot,” Wentworth’s Julian Small added.

“I always remember a wonderful shot — I think it may have been in 1991 — it was a very tricky shot and a very important shot in the game.

A little boy behind him was rattling his coins in his pocket and Seve stepped back and said to the little boy, ‘Are you nervous?' He said, ‘Yes'; Seve said: ‘So am I!'.”

The Seve Ballesteros Foundation, which Ballesteros set up following his diagnosis to help others with brain cancer, was the chosen charity for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The club, where Ballesteros won five World Match Play Championships and the 1991 PGA Championship, will host a tribute event during this year's renewal of the latter.

Chief executive Julian Small added: “Along with other greats of the world of golf, Seve left his footprint here.

“We wanted to make a difference and during the week of the BMW PGA Championship, on the Monday we're going to hold a celebration of Seve's life and a celebration of golf. We'd like to think we can raise £300,000 for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation.”

Ballesteros had joined forces with Cancer Research UK to raise money for the charity to help fund research into brain cancer.

Today the chief executive of Cancer Research UK Harpal Kumar said: “We're very saddened to hear that Seve Ballesteros has lost his fight against brain cancer. I had the great honour of meeting Seve and his family at his home in Pedrena when we first established the Seve Ballesteros Foundation partnership in 2009 and my thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time.

“Seve was a hero to many for all he achieved during his career, but never more so than in the months after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. His personal battle against the disease, and his determination to help others through his Foundation, was truly inspirational.

“Seve's experience brought a much needed spotlight onto brain cancer and Cancer Research UK was honoured to join forces with his Foundation to work towards our shared goal of beating brain cancer. It's a huge challenge but one that Seve was committed to making a reality.

“The partnership with Cancer Research UK has already raised over £700,000 towards ambitious and vital research that will help improve diagnosis and treatment of brain cancers in the future.

“Today we have lost a man who will be much missed and remembered the world over for what he achieved both on and off the golf course.”

Among hundreds of tributes by users of Twitter, Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Seve Ballesteros — greatest genius golf has ever seen.”

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan wrote: “Not many can say they made the sport they played trendy, cool, fun and sexy. Seve single handedly did that.”

BBC sports presenter Jake Humphrey wrote: “Legend is the most overused word in sport. It applied to Seve Ballesteros. He changed the face of golf. Thoughts with his family. RIP”

The family's statement at www.seveballesteros.com read: “At 02:10 hours [Spanish time], Seve Ballesteros — accompanied by his family at his home in Pedrena — died due to respiratory failure.

“The family appreciates all the expressions of support and affection they have received since Seve was admitted on October 5, 2008 at the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid.

“At the same time, please respect our privacy at such a painful time. Thank you very much.”

Ballesteros, who announced his retirement from golf in 2007, recevied confirmation that he had a brain tumour a year later.

But in December 2009 he appeared on television to receive the BBC's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sports Personality of the Year event from his former Ryder Cup partner - and now captain - Jose Maria Olazabal.

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