It is over seven years ago that Seve Ballesteros passed away. Three-times the Open champion, twice Masters champion, winner of scores of tournaments around the world, he was the chief inspiration for the reinvigoration of the Ryder Cup, the latest renewal of which will take place in Paris next week. He was the reason continental golfers were added to the GB&I team in 1979; the main reason why the Europeans began to win more than they lost; and – notwithstanding that Nick Faldo has won six major championships to Seve’s five – he was the most important player in the history and development of the European Tour. And not only did he captain a European team to victory in the Ryder Cup, at Valderrama in 1997, he was the inspiration behind Europe’s victory in 2012, the year after his death, when Europe overcame a four-point deficit on Sunday to win under the captaincy of Seve’s great friend and former Ryder Cup partner, José Maria Olazábal, on a dramatic afternoon in Chicago.
In the grounds of what was his home until he died, two and a half years after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour, is a small (very small!) par-three course. Seve had got the greens sorted out before his passing, although the tees were added afterwards by his sons. The whole layout only adds up to 544 metres – put another way, the length of a long par-five – but it is a lot of fun.
The 5th initiates a three-hole stretch which Seve called his personal Amen Corner. The holes aren’t as tough as 11-13 at the Masters – together they about equal the length of the par-three 12th at Augusta – but, of course, I did manage to miss two of the three greens with my pitch shots. Although not by as much as golf misses Seve.
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