Remembering Seve's Two Masters Triumphs
The legendary Seve Ballesteros would have turned 60 today. Six years have now passed since his death from cancer in 2011, but the incredible legacy of the Spaniard is continually celebrated. He was the most charismatic, entertaining and artistic of golfers, showcasing a flair and ingenuity that endeared him to millions.
37 years ago, he became the first winner of the Masters Tournament from Europe. Turning 23 before the event began, the reigning Open champion was a startling seven shots ahead after 54-holes, and extended that advantage to ten. However, he stumbled on the back-nnie, eventually becoming the youngest champion at that time by four strokes ahead of Gibby Gilbert and the great Jack Nicklaus.
Two years later, Ballesteros narrowly missed out on the playoff between Craig Stadler and Dan Pohl, but returned 12 months later and secured his second green jacket success, taking advantage of the collapse of the defending champion (Stadler) and former winner Raymond Floyd to take the title in brilliant fashion by another sizeable margin of four.
Seve opened the door for European success at Augusta. Bernhard Langer followed in 1985 and 1993, Sandy Lyle in 1988, Ian Woosnam in 1991, and Sir Nick Faldo in 1989, 1990 and 1996. Fellow Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal won two Masters of his own in 1994 and 1999, underlining the influence of Ballesteros. He was the first. And there could be more.
Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia (another from Spain) lead the way after three rounds of the 2017 Masters, the great legacy of success from the continent may once again continue, a year after England's Danny Willett triumphed. Seve would have been proud.
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