May 7, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Posted in Golf | 8 Comments
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Seve Ballesteros is dead but oh how he lived.

Putting on the Green Jacket

I wish that Red Smith or Herbert Warren Wind were alive to write the farewell. In golf, our heroes are in place when a new comet flashes by and so it took me time to come to admire Seve. Of course, you could not help but appreciate him from the start. He was different as he was both a poet and a magician on the links. But most of all, he had fire, fire enough for himself and whole continents of golfers.

It was Seve who broke Tom Watson’s heart (and mine) at St. Andrews and it took me years to forgive him for that. Later, he took the Ryder Cup from our country-clubbed hands. He got under our skin but what we would have given to have him on our side.

Seve died young but he was great and who among us wouldn’t take that deal?


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  1. Nice tribute Tom (‘country-clubbed hands’!). Hard to believe that Seve has gone.

  2. Seve was a titan and had more charisma than both major tours combined. As great as his career and legacy was it would have been even more enormous had he not given the ’86 Masters to Nicklaus. What footage would CBS have run all these years if it was he who just won going away instead of Jack charging from behind.

    • I discussed that very Masters with my son on Sunday. That shot in the water was the end of Seve just like Watson hitting over the 17th at St. Andrew’s in Seve’s year, was the end for him.

      Seve was great but certainly not as great as Nicklaus, Player or Watson. You have to win the US Open at least once (unless you are Sam Snead).

      • With the exception of Nicklaus in ’80 and Watson in ’82 the US Open winners of Seve’s era were the perfect horses for the US Open courses. Plodders who had no flair. It’s no secret Seve desperately wanted to win a US Open, but the USGA and their penal setups were not for him.

      • Yes, Andy North and crew. Watson should have won at Oakmont but Nelson holes a 60 footer. These are all painful memories for me. No better teammate than Seve!

      • Golf is fascinating for these single shots that render a great career never the same again. Sometimes they are done to the player though. I’d add Watson’s chip-in at Pebble Beach (to Nicklaus of course) and Trevino’s at Muirfield to Jacklin. Oh and pick any of several to Greg Norman!

      • Yes, there are so many. Snead missing a short putt in the US Open to lose and never having another chance. But Nicklaus is different, he went on to win at least one major after Pebble. But he is beyond compare.

  3. Yes of course Nicklaus was the exception. I remember thinking ‘That’s the shot that does for you chum’ and he had that look about him. That was 1982 and he won one more, in ’86 of course. He was tough enough to get over something that probably nobody else could have, though having 17 already under his belt probably helped give him a perspective!

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