Silence falls on Ryder Cup history
Ballesteros was a Spanish maestro who, very quickly and from a virtual standing start, became European golf's on-course leader and inspiration for all who followed.other Updated: May 10, 2011 01:44 IST
Ballesteros was a Spanish maestro who, very quickly and from a virtual standing start, became European golf's on-course leader and inspiration for all who followed.
Seve's timing was perfect. Starved of a major champion in the decade following Tony Jacklin's successes in 1969 and 1970, British and continental players and administrators, galvanised by John Jacobs, paved the way for a united European Tour, thus providing a structure for fresh players to emerge. A star was needed and Seve became and remained that star.
From the moment he announced himself to the entire golfing world in finishing second to Johnny Miller at Royal Birkdale in the 1976 Open Championship and followed up by winning the Dutch Open three weeks later Seve was No1. The sheer quantity of worldwide victories - totalling some 87 events - and quality of the successes, led by three Opens and two Masters, plus five world matchplays and one PGA at Wentworth, ensures his place in the list of all-time golfing greats.
Seve's timing was also perfect in terms of the Ryder Cup. His emergence as leader of Spain's "golfing armada" gave impetus to the essential change from an outgunned GB&I Ryder Cup team to that of the expanded and successful European team from 1979 - coincidentally the year of his first Open Championship victory.
From the 1983 matches through to his final playing performance in 1995 Seve was the heartbeat of the European team and spearheaded successes at The Belfry in 1985 and 1989 and the first two European wins in the US in 1987 at Muirfield Village, Ohio, and in 1995 at Rochester, New York.