Seve Ballesteros has died today at the far-too-young age of 54. One of the greatest players to grace the courses of the world, Ballesteros was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago, but deteriorated rapidly in the last 24 hours. BBC Sport reports:
Spanish golf legend Seve Ballesteros has died after a protracted battle with cancer.
The 54-year-old had health problems since being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008 after losing consciousness at Madrid Airport.
The five-time major winner had four operations to remove the tumour as well as undergoing chemotherapy.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal described Ballesteros as a "reference point" for Spanish athletes.
"He's one of the greats of this country without a doubt," he said.
Ballesteros, who claimed 87 titles over his career, won the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Augusta Masters in 1980, repeating the feat in 1983.
He also enjoyed a successful Ryder Cup career as both player and captain - playing in eight Ryder Cups and winning 20 points from 37 matches before guiding Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997.
Ballesteros was a fearless competitor, with an explosive temperament but an exquisite and imaginative short game. Even when he strayed from the fairway (a fairly frequent occurrence!) , he had an amazing ability to get the ball onto the green and into the hole as the video below attests.
His competitiveness was tailor-made for the cut and thrust of the Ryder Cup, the biennial matchplay competition between the USA and Europe. Tales of his gamesmanship have become legend in the game; he was the fiercest of fierce competitors.
The fairways and greens of the golfing world will be a poorer place for Seve's passing. We may never see his like again.
Rest in Peace Seve