Saturday, May 7, 2011

Golfing great Seve Ballesteros dies, aged 54

SEVERIANO Ballesteros, who died aged 54, was one of golf's all-time greats, a charismatic figure who lifted five majors, led the European challenge to the decades-long US supremacy and turned a new generation onto the sport.

For two decades, from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, 'Seve' was one of the sport's most celebrated personalities.

He collected 87 career titles and was a crucial ingredient in Europe's rediscovered love affair with the Ryder Cup, before retiring in 2007 with back problems.

Known for his flamboyant and imaginative style of play, he famously won one of his three British Open titles by playing a shot from a temporary parking lot.

Ballesteros was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour after losing consciousness at Madrid airport on October 6, 2008.

He underwent four operations to remove the tumour and reduce swelling in his skull, as well as chemotherapy. He called his battle against the tumour the "hardest challenge of my life".

"During my career I was one of the best at getting around obstacles on golf courses. Now I want to be the best at confronting the most difficult match of my life with all my strength," he had said in a statement when he revealed his illness.

Golf Digest magazine in 2000 ranked him as the greatest golfer Europe has produced.

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