The family of Seve Ballesteros have announced that the three-time Open Champion has died, following a prolonged neurological condition. He passed away peacefully on Saturday 7 May at 2.10am Spanish time, surrounded by his family at his home in Pedreña. He was 54.
Shortly before he died, it was announced on the website, www.seveballesteros.com, earlier on Friday 6 May that his condition had severely deteriorated.
The R&A’s Chief Executive, Peter Dawson, said: “Everyone at the R&A is saddened to hear of Seve’s death. Our thoughts go out to his family.
“Seve was one of the brightest lights of our game and was an inspiration to millions. His iconic celebration here at St Andrews, on the 18th green in 1984, ranks as one of sport’s greatest moments. The game has lost one of the greats; it is a very sad day for golf.”
Ballesteros first caught the attention of the golfing public when, as a 19-year-old, he finished in a tie for second place with Jack Nicklaus at the 1976 Open Championship, held at Royal Birkdale. He then went on to win five Major Championships between the years of 1979 and 1988, adding two Green Jackets to his haul of three Claret Jugs.
His three Open Championship victories came in 1979 and 1988 at Royal Lytham and St Annes, and in 1984 at St Andrews. His legendary fist pump, a reaction to holing the birdie putt on the final hole of the Old Course to claim his second Claret Jug, became famous the world over and is still used as a logo for the group of companies which he formed.
Ballesteros competed for Europe in eight Ryder Cups and Captained the European team to victory at Valderrama in 1997. He was also instrumental in creating the biennial Seve Trophy match, between teams representing Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe. He was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 2009, he launched the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, an organisation which aims to aid research into cancer, particularly brain tumours. Simultaneously, the Foundation also assists young, underprivileged golfers to develop their careers.
Ballesteros will be remembered as the most charismatic of sportsmen, who will retain a special place in every golf fan’s heart. He played an incomparable part in making The Open Championship, and professional golf, what it is today, and he will be sorely missed.