My first recollection of Seve Ballesteros was as a 13 year old,watching him finish second to Johnny Miller in the 1976 Open at Royal Birkdale.That performance catapulted him to world fame and remembered for that delightful chip shot on the last hole,running the ball between two bunkers to less than three feet.The intense look on his face and his courage from that day onwards mesmerised the masses. Seve was the Arnold Palmer of Europe,a fiery,charismatic,handsome,swashbuckling,risk taking player whose star power elevated the European Tour to new levels and single handedly changed the face of the Ryder Cup,making it the event it is today.
What made Seve truly special was an ability to connect with spectators.Part of it was his gift for improvising some of the most improbable recovery shots in the history of the game.Another element was with the pure passion with which Seve performed.This was never more evident than in his ultimate moment on the final green at St.Andrews in the 1984 Open,when his 15 foot birdie putt barely crawled into the high side of the hole,he began a series of right handed thrusts into the sky which also served as salutes to his adoring fans packed around the green.
I was fortunate enough to see Seve play in the 1980`s and on several occasions stood a matter of yards from him,those images will stick with me forever. Seve....thank you for the memories.