Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Seve Ballesteros funeral,Ballesteros Biography,Personal life,Career..

It began at La Manga with an 83 and it ended 33 years later at Augusta with rounds of 86 and 80 - but in between Seve Ballesteros lifted European golf to new heights.
Now comes the time to say goodbye to the sporting genius who died aged 54 on Saturday, three-and-a-half years after collapsing at Madrid Airport with a brain tumour.
Ballesteros' funeral takes place at 1pm on Wednesday at the San Pedro parish church in his home village of Pedrena near Santander.
"Seve will be cremated at a ceremony that will be as intimate as possible and at a place that nobody will know," his family said.
"That was his express wish. His ashes will remain at his estate, at his home in Pedrena."
Seve's brother Baldomero commented: "The funeral rites will be as simple as those for any neighbour from the village. He was born here and here he will remain."
The son of a farmer, Ballesteros was one of five brothers. One died in childhood, but the other four - Baldomero, Vicente, Manuel and Seve - remarkably all became golf professionals.
Only one of them, though, was able to become a superstar and leave memories that will never be forgotten in the history of not just golf, but all of sport.
Second in the 1976 Open Championship at the age of only 19 - he actually led it the first three days before American Johnny Miller came storming through to win by six - Ballesteros had to wait only three years to become the youngest winner of the Claret Jug for 86 years.
The Spaniard was dubbed 'the car park champion' that week after his unconventional way of playing Royal Lytham's 16th hole via a television compound.
But when he became the first European to win the Masters the following April - he led that by 10 with nine holes to play before ending up 'only' four shots clear - everybody in the know realised the impact he was about to have.
When you think that Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and Tiger Woods has 14, the five Ballesteros finished his career with was a fairly meagre return for his talent in truth, but the dashing way he played and the charisma he brought made golf sexy all of a sudden.
And others like Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam achieved what they did partly because Ballesteros had shown them what was possible.
The 1984 Open at St Andrews was the high point, a dramatic birdie at the final hole of the sport's grandest stage stopping Tom Watson from winning a record-equalling sixth title and uncorking a fist-pumping celebration that became his trademark.
And then there was the Ryder Cup as well - an event perfectly suited to the emotion and passion he wore on his sleeve throughout his playing days.
It is what it is thanks to Ballesteros more than anybody else. Indeed, European golf is what it is thanks to him more than anybody else.

Early life and career

Severiano Ballesteros Sota was born in the village of Pedreña, Cantabria, Spain, on 9 April 1957, the youngest of five sons[1] of Baldomero Ballesteros Presmanes (1919–1987) and Carmen Sota Ocejo (1919–2002). One died in childhood, all the others became professional golfers.He learned the game while playing on the beaches near his home, at the time while he was supposed to be in school, mainly using a 3-iron given to him by his older brother Manuel when he was eight years old. His maternal uncle Ramón Sota was Spanish professional champion four times and finished sixth in the Masters Tournament in 1965.Ballesteros' older brother Manuel finished in the top 100 on the European Tour order of merit every year from 1972 to 1983, and later became Ballesteros' manager. His brothers Vicente and Baldomero, and nephew Raúl are also professional golfers.

Ballesteros turned professional in March 1974 at the age of 16. In 1976, he burst onto the international scene with a second-place finish in The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Ballesteros led by two shots after the third round, but a final round 74 saw him tie with Jack Nicklaus, six shots behind the winner Johnny Miller. He went on to win the European Tour Order of Merit (money title) that year, a title that he would win six times, including the next two years, which was a record at that time (since surpassed by Colin Montgomerie).Ballesteros won his first Open Championship in 1979 with a closing 70, a round in which he famously hit his tee shot into a car park on the 16th hole yet still made a birdie.

Ballesteros went on to win five major championships: the Masters Tournament in 1980 and 1983, and The Open Championship in 1979, 1984 and 1988. His 1980 Masters win was the first by a European player, and at the time he was the youngest winner of the tournament, at age 23 (though this record was broken by Tiger Woods in 1997, when he was 21 years old). His 1979 win at The Open Championship similarly made him the youngest winner of the tournament in the 20th century, and the first golfer from continental Europe to win a major since Frenchman Arnaud Massy won The Open in 1907.

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, Ballesteros was a mainstay of the European Ryder Cup team. He scored 22½ points in 37 matches against the United States; his partnership with fellow Spaniard José María Olazábal was the most successful in the history of the competition, with 11 wins and two halved matches out of 15 pairs matches.While Ballesteros was a member of European sides that won the Ryder Cup in 1985, retained the Cup in 1987 and 1989, and regained the Cup in 1995, the pinnacle of his career in the competition came in 1997, when he captained the winning European side at Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain. This was the first Ryder Cup ever held in continental Europe.

Ballesteros led the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 61 weeks in the period from their inauguration (in April 1986) to September 1989, including being world number one at the end of the 1988 season. He also led McCormack's World Golf Rankings, published in McCormack's "World Of Professional Golf" annuals (from which the official rankings were developed) in 1983, 1984 and 1985.He was ever-present in the end of season world's top ten according to those rankings for fifteen years, from 1977 to 1991 inclusive.
Late career and retirement

In 1999, Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.He was instrumental in introducing the Seve Trophy in 2000, a team competition similar to the Ryder Cup pitting a team from Great Britain and Ireland against one from continental Europe. In 2000, Ballesteros was ranked as the 16th greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine; he was the top golfer from the continent of Europe.

Ballesteros had played sparingly since the late 1990s because of back problems, and made his first start in years at the 2005 Madrid Open. He stated a desire to play more tournaments in the 2006 season. He entered the 2006 Open Championship, having played just one other event on the European Tour, The Open de France Alstom, where he missed the cut. He ran a thriving golf course design business and had been eligible for the Champions Tour and European Seniors Tour upon turning 50 in 2007.Ballesteros had been the captain of the European team in the Royal Trophy since its inception in 2006.He was announced again as non-playing captain of the 2008 European team to defend the Royal Trophy against the Asian team at the Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok.

After further recurrences of his back problems, which contributed to his finishing tied for last in his only Champions Tour start, Ballesteros announced his retirement from golf on 16 July 2007, bringing down the curtain on an illustrious career. During the news conference, he also addressed reports in European media that he had attempted suicide, saying that those reports "were not even close to reality". He had been briefly hospitalized when he became concerned about the condition of his heart, but was released the same day after being given a clean bill of health.

Ballesteros was a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy. He had become involved in European golf course design in recent years, most famously altering the 17th hole at Valderrama before the 1997 Ryder Cup.
Personal life

Ballesteros was married to Carmen Botín O'Shea, daughter of Emilio Botín, from 1988 until their divorce in 2004, in the municipality of Marina de Cudeyo in Cantabria. The couple had three children, Baldomero, Miguel and Carmen. The marriage was said to have run into trouble when Ballesteros could not accept the fact his career was on the wane.
Brain tumor and death

At Madrid-Barajas Airport on 6 October 2008, Ballesteros lost consciousness and was admitted to hospital.Six days later, he confirmed that he had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. On 15 October, Spanish news agency Efe reported that he had undergone a 12-hour operation to resect the tumor, the first of four operations he would have. A hospital spokeswoman stated that surgeons had removed a sizable part of the tumor.On 23 October, it was confirmed publicly that the tumor was classified as a cancerous oligoastrocytoma, and after a rapid deterioration of his health, further surgery took place on 24 October to stabilize him and try to remove the remainder of the tumor. On 24 October, it was confirmed that the tumor had been removed after a 6½-hour operation. On 3 November, it was confirmed by the hospital that he was starting his rehabilitation in the intensive care unit, and was breathing steadily. On 18 November, he was moved out of the intensive care unit and changed wards at Madrid's La Paz Hospital to continue his rehabilitation.

Ballesteros was discharged from hospital on 9 December 2008. He then returned home to northern Spain and underwent chemotherapy treatment as an outpatient. In January 2009 a message on his website said he had responded well to one course of chemotherapy.

    "I am very motivated and working hard although I am aware that my recovery will be slow and therefore I need to be patient and have a lot of determination. For these reasons I am following strictly all the instructions that the doctors are giving me. Besides, the physiotherapists are doing a great job on me and I feel better every day."

Ballesteros completed a second course of chemotherapy at Madrid's La Paz Hospital in February 2009. Speaking through his website he said, "The results of the check-up were really positive, better even than the first ones." He finished a third round of treatment in March 2009, and completed his fourth and final course of chemotherapy a month later.

In June, Ballesteros made his first public appearance after treatment for the brain tumor. He said it was a "miracle" to be alive and he thanked everyone who had been involved in his care and welfare.

At his first public appearance, Ballesteros announced the launch of the "Seve Ballesteros Foundation". This foundation was set up to help those with cancer fight it. The foundation aims to research cancer, especially brain tumors, but it will also help financially challenged young golfers, so they can be as successful as him.

On 6 May 2011, Ballesteros' family released a press release announcing that his neurological condition had "suffered a severe deterioration". He died within hours of the announcement in the early hours of 7 May 2011: it was exactly 2 hours and 10 minutes, his older brother Baldomero confirmed.

His death occurred during the Open de España, where the European Tour marked his passing with a moment of silence during the third round at the Real Club de Golf El Prat in Barcelona.

Tiger Woods said of Ballesteros that he was "one of the most talented and exciting golfers to ever play the game". World number one Lee Westwood said of Ballesteros, "Seve made European golf what it is today".

At the Madrid Open in tennis, a moment of silence was held prior to the semi-final match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal, a close friend of Ballesteros, was seen wiping away tears as he watched the video screen.

On 8 May, at 15:08 EST, the three major tours stopped play and held a moment of silence.[citation needed]

On 10 May, the Irish Independent, that country's largest selling newspaper said of him: "He spoke many other languages too: the dialects of honour, of dignity, of sportsmanship, of decency, of fair play, of loyalty, of integrity, and in the end, of dauntless, unforgettable, astonishing courage. In doing so, he rewrote entirely the international image of the Spanish people. Quite simply, there has never been a finer ambassador for either his sport or his country."

Ballesteros will have a small private funeral on 11 May 2011 in his home village of Pedreña.He will be cremated at an undisclosed location in the village, with his ashes then scattered at his home estate.
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