Good luck Seve
The Spanish golfer who helped to revitalize European golf, has announced his retirement.
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AFP) - Golfing legend Severiano Ballesteros on Monday announced his retirement from the sport after a 33-year long professional career.Ballesteros was a short game wizard. As seen in his wins at Augusta and from the car park at the 1979 Open.(I was doing my Navy Basic Training in Orlando Florida at the time of that Open. So I only saw Seve's miracles that year afterwards) I followed golf even more heavily in the 80's. and Seve's exploits are very vivid to me.
The Spaniard won three British Opens and two Masters and also played and captained winning European Ryder Cup sides becoming one of the most popular sportsmen in the world in the process.
Ballesteros turned 50 in April after the Masters and a month later made his debut on the US Seniors Tour, but he finished joint last with 67-year-old Lee Trevino and admitted he had been contemplating his future since then.
"For a few months there was something confused inside me, an internal fight," he said ahead of this week's British Open here.
"My head said 'I think you should retire' but my heart was telling me you would be better to continue playing and competing.
Ballesteros rose from humble beginnings (his father was a greenkeeper) in Spain, a country with little or no track record for golf, and made his Open debut at Carnoustie in 1975.
But it was four years later that he struck gold with a typically swashbuckling win in the 1979 Open at Royal Lytham where he became known as "the car park champion" in honour of one of his remarkable recovery shots.
During the next two decades he strode the golfing world like a colossus almost single-handedly reviving the struggling European PGA Tour and leading the challenge to the decades-long US hegemony in the sport.
He was the first European to make the breakthrough at the Augusta Masters in 1980, opening the floodgates for the likes of Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle and his Spanish compatriot Jose Maria Olazabal.
His Ryder Cup exploits were equally impressive spearheading the landmark 1985 win over the Americans, the first since 1957.
Two years later the Ballesteros-inspired Europeans won on American soil for the first time and what had been a one-way contest had been changed for ever. These days it is the Americans who are struggling to compete.
Back problems though started to trouble him in the late 1990s and his form and confidence gradually ebbed away.
He attempted a succession of comebacks in recent times, but nothing worked and rounds of 86 and 80 at this year's Masters where he finished last sounded the death knell for his game.
Ballesteros denied that his retirement announcement had anything to do with the state of his health and again poured scorn on Spanish media reports that he had recently tried to commit suicide.
Note- This golf article is pretty shoddy. There is no mention of Seve's five Major Championship wins(3 British Opens, 2 Masters), his first splash on the international scene when he led the 1976 British Open after three rounds at age 19, or his heated Ryder Cup rivalries with some American golfers like Paul Azinger. The sloppy, error prone, and incomplete writing by those who cover golf never fails to amaze me.
It is sad Seve can't play any more, I hope it isn't due to any serious health problems. The golf world will miss him.
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