Seve Ballesteros, five-time major winner and inspiration for so many of today’s golfers, lost his battle with brain cancer Saturday. Here are just a few of the tributes from those in the golf world to whom Ballesteros was such an inspiration:
“I was deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Seve Ballesteros,” Tiger Woods tweeted. “I always enjoyed spending time with him at the Champions dinner each year at the Masters. Seve was one of the most talented and exciting golfers to ever play the game. His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed. His death came much too soon.”
“It’s a sad day,” top-ranked Lee Westwood posted on Twitter. “Lost an inspiration, genius, roll model, hero and friend. Seve made European golf what it is today. RIP Seve.”
“He did for European golf what Tiger Woods did for worldwide golf. The European Tour would not be where it is today if not for Seve Ballesteros,” Nick Price told the Associated Press. Price lost his brother to brain cancer last year. “His allegiance to the European Tour was admirable. The guy, he was an icon, just an incredible golfer.”
“Seve’s unique legacy must be the inspiration he has given to so many to watch, support, and play golf, and finally to fight a cruel illness with equal flair, passion, and fierce determination,” George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour George O’Grady told the AP. “We have all been so blessed to live in his era. He was the inspiration behind the European Tour.”
Playing in this week’s Spanish Open, a grieving Jose Maria Olazabal said of his good friend that the “best homage we can pay him [is] to continue playing.”
According to Sports Illustrated’s Damon Hack, Rory McIlroy summed up the greatness and influence of Bellesteros “He was European golf,” McIlroy said simply.
Surrounded by his family, Ballesteros passed away peacefully at 2:10 a.m. local time, according to a statement on his website. The Spanish golf great was 54.