Seve Ballesteros Shot of a Lifetime at Crans-sur-Sierre
THERE have been many memorable moments at Crans-our-Sierre, home of the European Masters but none more so than the shot that Severiano Ballesteros hit at the final hole in 1993.
Having already won three times at the Swiss Alpine venue and achieved legendary status as one of the finest players in the annals of European golf, the Spaniard birdied five holes on the trot and stepped on to the 18th tee in 1993 in need of a birdie to be in with any hope of catching Englishman Barry Lane.
Fiercely determined as ever, Seve gave his drive the full treatment but watched on in horror as his ball sailed long and right, coming to rest just five feet from an eight-foot high wall standing between his ball, a swimming pool and the green, some 130 yards away, with only the smallest of gaps to be seen between the wall and a string of branches.
His caddie, Billy Foster, said: “I get down there first, there’s obviously no shot, so he comes down, and I said, ‘Seve, chip it out sidewards, chip it on the green, We can still make par and win the tournament.’ ”
After a lengthy discussion with Foster, who desperately pleaded with Ballesteros to take his medicine, Seve stuck to his trademark aggressive guns, laid the face of his sand wedge wide open and fired the ball almost vertically up over the wall, but beneath the tree limbs.
Golf photographer Dave Cannon looks back at Seve Ballesteros' miracle shot at the European Masters? in 1993
Three times, Foster pleaded with Seve not to take the shot on. Do not try to massage your golf ball through a gap the size of a “dinner plate,” Foster told his employer. Take the safe shot, and you could still win, the caddie reasoned. You are not a magician, the caddie begged.
“‘Why? Why I listen to you? Why you put doubt in my mind? You are the caddy. Carry the clubs. I’m the player,’ ”Ballesteros said to Foster. “ ‘Now give me a yardage and then piss off.’ ”
Foster admits that he guessed at the yardage, telling Seve it was 130 yards. “The imagination to play that shot shot was incredible, Foster said, “and it just goes to show if I had given the right yardage, he’d have probably knocked it on the green.”
Incredibly, the ball reached the edge of the green and, even more amazingly, Seve then chipped in for the birdie he was looking for.
Described by Foster as "the best shot I've ever seen", Seve was later asked why he went for such a risky shot, to which he replied, simply: "I just like to keep going forward.”
“I had to get down on my hands and knees and bow to him,” Foster recalled. “Seve Ballestreros, you are God. Seve Ballesteros, you are the best that ever lived.”
As it turned out, the birdie still didn't prove enough, as Lane triumphed by a stroke, but the shot instantly went down as one of the greatest bits of scrambling ever seen in golf - eternalised in stone now at the very spot where Crans-sur-Sierre witnessed another bit of Ballesteros brilliance.
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