Seve Ballesteros - Spain - Biography of his career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 15 July 1979

Click on image to enlarge

      Tuesday, 09 April 1957
      Pedrena, Northern Spain. Died 7th. May 2011 (54)
  • Spain
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Seve BALLESTEROS - Spain - Biography of his career.

Severiano Ballesteros pictured in 1979. He died on 7th. May 2011 at 2.11 am aged 54.

From October 2008 he had been treated for a malignant brain tumour.

He won 50 European Tour events between 1976 and 1995.


                   Biography : the 1970s.     A young Seve catches the eye and wins his  first major.


Severiano Ballesteros turned professional at the tender age of 16 in 1974 and it was not long before he was catching the eye with some dazzling performances. His first tournament victory came in 1976 at the Dutch Open and the precocious teenager followed that up by winning the Lancome Trophy. By the end of the season Ballesteros was the leading European money winner ahead of the likes of Eamonn Darcy,Sam Torrance and fellow countryman Manuel Pinero with a total of £39,503. Ballesteros captured the imagination with a stunning performance in the 1976 Open at Birkdale where,at just 19 years of age,he finished joint second with the legendary Jack Nicklaus behind Johnny Miller - Seve had truly arrived!


He remained on top of the money lists for the next two seasons with victories at the French Open,Uniroyal International and Swiss Open in 1977 and at the Martini International,German International,Scandinavian Open and Swiss Open in 1978. The experts were predicting that it would not be long before Seve collected his first major and in 1979 they were proved right. The handsome young man from Pedrena in Northern Spain was the only player under par in difficult conditions at Royal Lytham & St.Annes and his one under total was sufficient to give him victory by three strokes from Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw. Seve's wayward driving was more than made up for with his quite brilliant recovery shots as he saved par time and time again,even making birdie at the 16th after he had driven into a car park! Ballesteros made his Ryder Cup debut later that year but it was not a happy memory as the European team went down to a 17-11 defeat with Seve being defeated four times by the leading American player Larry Nelson. (David Scranage).



The picture above of Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros was taken on 6th. September 1984

by George Herringshaw.


                                                     1980-85. Majors numbers 2, 3 and 4.


Seve started the new decade in quite brilliant fashion with a four stroke victory from Gibby Gilbert and Jack Newton at the 1980 Masters tournament. He carded 66,69 and 68 in the first three rounds and held a seven stroke lead going into the final day. At one stage that lead had been increased to a massive ten shots before some sloppy play between the 11th to 13th holes allowed his rivals to reduce the deficit. Seve was not to be denied however and at 23 he became the then youngest winner of the much fabled Green Jacket as well as becoming the first ever European winner. That first success at Augusta gave the exciting youngster the taste for more and after a third place finish in 1982 behind Craig Stadler and Dan Pohl he was back to winning ways in '83 with a four stroke triumph from Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. Ballesteros also finished sixth in the Open,fourth in the U.S. Open and only Nick Faldo headed him in the European Order of Merit.


To top off a memorable year Seve performed superbly in the Ryder Cup as the Europeans came so close to beating the Americans on their own soil. He and youngster Paul Way scored two wins and a half in their four matches and Seve then fought back to earn a half against Fuzzy Zoeller in the singles. The home team were not to be denied,however,and clung on for the narrowest of wins at 14 1/2-13 1/2. Ballesteros was champion once more in the '84 Open at St. Andrews where his twelve under par total gave him a two stroke victory from Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer. Seve and Watson were neck and neck going up the famous 17th Road Hole but a poor approach shot from the American saw him make bogey and a birdie at the last from the Spaniard secured a thrilling triumph. (David Scranage).



The image of Severiano Ballesteros was taken at the 1986 Open by George Herringshaw.  ©


                                                1986-89. Teams up with Olazabal, wins third Open.


The 1985 Masters saw Seve so close to making it a third Green Jacket in five years but it was not to be as Germany's Bernhard Langer held on for a two stroke winning margin at six under par. Ballesteros also managed a fifth place finish in the US Open and later that year he was a member of the European team that was finally victorious in the Ryder Cup with a comfortable 16 1/2-11 1/2 triumph at the Belfry. The next couple of years brought frustration in the majors as Seve went close time and time again. He finished fourth in '86 and second in '87 at the Masters,sixth in '86 at the Open and also managed his best ever finish of third in the U.S. Open of 1987.


He did, however, have the consolation of topping the European Order of Merit once again in the 1986 season with a total of £242,208. By the time that the 1987 Ryder Cup came round another exciting young Spaniard had arrived on the scene; Jose-Maria Olazabal. Ballesteros teamed up with his 21 year old compatriot to stunning effect,the pair gaining three points from a possible four and then in a fitting finale Seve conjured up a 2&1 win against Curtis Strange to secure a first ever European victory on American soil by 15 points to 13. In 1988 the charismatic caballero thrilled the galleries at Royal Lytham & St. Annes once again by lifting his third claret jug,this of course was the venue where it had all begun nine years earlier. The Spaniard fired a magical final round 65 to come from behind against Zimbabwean Nick Price,his total of eleven under par giving him a two shot victory. (David Scranage)