Who won the first-ever Donald Ross Memorial Invitational boys individual title?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Seve Ballesteros had global impact

Seve Ballesteros in a 2004 file photo. He passed away at age 54 on Saturday. Photo courtesy of McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Normally, this blog space is reserved for news and notes on the great players in the area and beyond.

But as I decided to write about the late, great Seve Ballesteros, I figured I'd honor such a golfing legend with a personal reflection.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Europe's first big star, but I have tried incorporating his creativity into my short game - which has waned from a once guaranteed up-and-down to not even a shell of its former self in recent years.

The reason is due to some chipping and pitching yips anytime I have a sand wedge in my hands. All other clubs, I still bump-and-run decent - mainly due to a smaller swing.

Getting back to the legendary Ballesteros, who won five major championships and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

I tested out a back injury with my first round in three months during a recent day off and I tapped into my inner-Seve on No. 9.

The round, which I set a personal record six birdies to offset the seven miscues, was highlighted on this hole - even though I didn't make a bird.

I played the hole in vintage Seve, hitting a wayward drive into the trees, then hooding a long-iron from the rough and curving the ball pin-high about 20 yards right of the green.

My ball rested underneath another tree with a tight lie and about a five-foot window between the overhanging branch and a bunker that blocked some of the green.

This called for a low running shot. And my first instinct was to pick a 5-iron and play it like Seve would.

Sure enough, I skipped it through the rough on one bounce. The ball popped onto the green and rolled ever-so close to the pin, breaking at its last revelation to stop 6-inches from the pin.

It was only another day later that I heard the news about Seve succumbing the cancerous brain tumor that he was diagnosed with a couple years ago.

Even with his passing at the young age of 54, Seve's impact was global and I definitely drew inspiration from the way he played the game.

Seve's golfing abilities were just a touch of the iceberg when it came to his influence.

To read more about this titan of golf, check out Sunday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

And check out this classic video depicting the typical adventurous Seve during the 1979 British Open:

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