May 7: 10 years since Seve Ballesteros departed

Today is all about one man.

Ten years ago, on May 7 2011, Seve Ballesteros finally lost his two year battle with a malignant brain tumour and passed away.

I recently discovered some notes that I took from a documentary that Peter Alliss made at Seve’s home in Pedrena. It was 2010, and Seve had some things he wanted to say. When I re-read these notes, the words leaped off the page. He spoke about how he was coping with his condition and passed on his advice to anyone who might go through a similar ordeal then, or at any time in the future, to encourage them to pull through.

“Think positive – about anything and everything. It will change your mindset and vibration which will aid your recovery.

“Remember anything happy. Good things. Stay strong and fight. If you don’t fight you might as well pull out the white handkerchief of surrender.

“You don’t win by panicking. Stay relaxed and optimistic. Never give up. Recall all the good you have done rather than the bad or your mistakes. Like Roberto De Vincenzo said “when life rains on you, put up the umbrella and wait for it to stop”. Continue to set goals, continue to look forward”.

He said that he had become a champion because “I try to do things other guys are too cautious to do”.

He and Peter then talked about how Seve was perceived. Peter said “some winners in golf are not liked, but Seve has always been loved”. Seve agreed.

“There was always such chemistry between me and the gallery. The people help me play the game”.

“Ah yes,” replied Peter “Some of them would help look for your ball from a wayward shot and when found they would flatten the lie”.

Indeed. Unless you lived through the time that Seve played, you will never know. You can’t really know Seve Ballesteros from a book. In his galleries in Europe, right to the end of his career, the love from men, women and children alike, it was tangible. Women admired him, men wanted to be him. When he rewarded them with his play the roars were animal like, the electricity and emotion was always there sending him onwards. It wasn’t the same kind of support that Tiger or Jack or even Arnie had, this was something different. It surrounded him. That feeling has certainly lived on in the hearts of those of us who were out there through his times.

Caddies were the butt of anything that went wrong, and they would sometimes describe him as a pink farm animal with a curly tail. But even some of them would love and admire him regardless. “God he was hard work” said David Musgrove, who caddied for him when he won the 1979 Open.

Tiger called Seve “The most creative player ever to play the game. The best short game ever”. Jack Nicklaus spoke of him with such genuine friendship and affection. Jack had been in regular touch and strongly supportive. Arnold Palmer sent him a dog for companionship, whom Seve called Phil (after Mickelson). Then, in the documentary, this happened.

Seve looked down the camera lens and addressed his people.

“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I have had so much luck and fun and great moments, it’s been like two or three lifetimes for some people.

And please know that I love you from the bottom of my heart”.

It would be the last time we ever saw him speak in public.

That was in 2010. A year later, on May 6, Seve’s family paid his people such gracious consideration when they let us know through a statement that Seve’s condition had seriously worsened. That gave us a short amount of time to prepare for the news the following day that he had passed away aged just 54.

A couple of weeks later before the start of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, the tour had arranged a special pro-am event in his honour which they called Ole Seve. It was well meant, but… Flags were at half mast, and people were still walking around in a daze. I remember seeing Sir Bruce Forsyth wandering around, just looking for people to talk to about it. A reporter from local television was tactlessly asking people how they felt, and no one would talk to him, such was the upset.

Now, ten years on, Peter Alliss, Arnold Palmer, Roberto De Vincenzo, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Seve’s brilliant caddie Davy Musgrove have joined him in the afterlife. What larks they must all be having together. It’s a comforting thought for today.

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LPGA Hoodie For Golf

Rickie Fowler works out impressively, but even more so for wearing the new LPGA Hoodie For Golf which is available to buy at lpgaproshop.com.

Michelle Wie West has helped design this as another fund raiser for Renee Powell, only the second black player to play on the LPGA Tour. Renee is also the head pro at Clear View Golf Club in Ohio, the only golf club in America solely owned, designed and built by an African American. Renee’s dad Bill, returning from World War II built his own course where “everybody would be welcime” and needs based grants were awarded so that more girls and black people could learn to play, which increased participation greatly.

On another note, great to hear that Rickie has been awarded a special exemption to play in the next mens major, the PGA Championship in May.

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Seve: His Life Through The Lens

Golf photographer Dave Cannon has compiled a new photographic book about Seve Ballesteros with written contributions by journalist Robert Green, which will be on sale on May 7, the 10th anniversary of Seve’s passing. Here is the information:

A beautiful tribute to Severiano Ballesteros

‘An outstanding book.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘David Cannon has produced an incredible book.’ Golf Monthly

This R&A and European Tour supported book, launched on May 7th 2021 to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Seve’s passing, is a stunning photographic celebration of his life.

Award-winning photographer, David Cannon (who was a friend of Seve and took the iconic picture on the cover of the book), has curated the best pictures from Seve’s life and career.

The book opens with a moving ‘Thank You’ letter written by his eldest son Javier and on behalf of his brother, Miguel, and sister, Carmencita. The Ballesteros family have also generously supplied a number of previously unpublished ‘family portraits’ of them with their father.

Each chapter begins with an essay by renowned golf writer Robert Green, author of two books on Seve, and includes a ‘Moment in Time’ piece by David where he reveals some of the background stories behind some of his favourite images of Seve. The book concludes with Sir Nick Faldo describing how his great rival acquired legendary status in the game and Jose Maria Olazábal paying tribute to a ‘very special friend’.

Supported by the Seve Ballesteros Foundation – this book is a fitting tribute to one of Golf’s most charismatic characters and will appeal to fans who remember Seve as one of the greatest players of all time.

As well as the standard edition of the book a very special Collectors’ Edition with a limited run of 1,000 copies has been produced. Each copy is presented in a bespoke leather-style clamshell box and includes a numbered signed print by David Cannon of his iconic photograph of Seve winning The Open at St Andrews in 1984. 

More information about the Collectors’ Edition can be found here

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Rose Ladies Series 2021 begins today

At West Lancs Golf Club today the 2021 Rose Ladies Series begins its stretch of 11 professional tournaments, building on the success of last year’s tour.

Last year Charley Hull, pictured with Justin Rose’s wife Kate, took the £20,000 prize for winning the Order of Merit. This year Charley, Georgia Hall and Gemma Dryborough will be playing on the LPGA tour, but there will still be substantial support from Ladies European Tour professionals ready to warm up for the start of the LET season in May.

Justin and Kate Rose have continued their generous financial support to the series with bigger prize money, and the the tournaments are ably overseen by Tournament Director Molly Bull and Justin’s Manager Paul McDonnell. The events are supported by the R&A, BMW, American Golf, Computacentre and Excel Sports.

Last year a devastating fire curtailed the three day final at Wentworth Club, so this year the final has been reduced to one day at Bearwood Lakes. The tournament venues and dates are:

April 29 West Lancs

May 6 Woburn

May 13 Brokenhurst Manor

May 21 The Berkshire

Aug 3 Royal Birkdale

Aug 5 JCB Golf and Country Club

Aug 7 Scotscraig

Sep 20 North Hants

Sep 23 The Buckinghamshire

Sep 25 Bearwood Lakes

During the height the pandemic last year with the series offered Ladies European Tour pros a welcome opportunity to compete, especially to play the Open Championship venue Royal St George’s. This year the events have expanded from 7 events to 11 with a much bigger geographical spread. No spectators will be allowed on site due to coronavirus restrictions at the moment.

Sky Sports Golf will be televising every event with each also appearing on Sky Sports You Tube channel, making them free to biew for a much bigger audience.

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Moving car catches European tour pro’s shot

In a Guiness World Record attempt, watch European Tour pro Marcus Armitage attempt the farthest golf shot hit into a moving car.

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Heir shot by Royal Tee, Duchess of Cambridge misses the ball

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took some golf shots at a school on Monday. The Duke hit his shot but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge completely missed the ball.

An heir shot by royal tee perhaps. In Her Royal Highnesses’ defence, looks like they’ve both been given ancient persimmon woods, requiring much more skill to hit the ball than hybrids or metal woods with much bigger sweet spots!

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The inspiration behind Phil Mickelson’s dance moves

Remember this Phil Mickelson dance video and how he explained his favourite dance move to Amanda Ballonis of the Golf Channel? He especially liked the layback movement.

By great fortune, because it is so entertaining, I have discovered the inspiration behind Phil’s choreography. Phil’s favourite move is in there and the singer does bear a passing resemblance to Phil, if he were to dye his hair.

Enjoy watching the pride of Finland, Danny and Arnmi and the dancers who are dressed like golfers.

I Wanna Love You Tender is definitely the inspiration behind the Mickelson videos.

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Tiger tribute at St Andrews

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Name the World Rankings players for each year

Found on quiz site sporcle.com, if you’re really at a loose end before golf starts again, fill out the top 10 players for each year of the World Golf rankings.

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Returning to golf in England: Advice from England Golf on what you can do and when

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