Ballesteros suffers severe deterioration

By Associated PressMay 6, 2011, 4:26 pm
MADRID – Golf great Seve Ballesteros suffered “severe deterioration” in his recovery from a cancerous brain tumor, a development that brought some players to tears as they considered his massive effect on golf in Europe and around the world.

The 54-year-old Ballesteros was resting at home in the northern Spanish town of Pedrena, where has mostly been since undergoing four operations in late 2008, his family said Friday.

“The family will inform accordingly about any change in his health condition and takes this opportunity of thanking everyone for the support that both Seve and his own family have been receiving during all this time,” said a statement on his website.

It said his “neurological condition has suffered a severe deterioration.”

Seve Ballesteros
Seve Ballesteros won 50 times on the European Tour. (Getty Images)

Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez were visibly upset after the second round of the Spanish Open. Olazabal formed the indomitable “Spanish Armada” with Ballesteros in the Ryder Cup, where they lost only two matches. Jimenez was a vice captain under Ballesteros on Europe’s winning team in the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama.

“We tried to talk to them after their rounds but they couldn’t even speak because they were crying. They couldn’t even talk,” Spanish Open spokeswoman Maria Acacia Lopez-Bachiller told The Associated Press by telephone. “This had to be the saddest competition in terms of ambiance today. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The thought of Ballesteros in such grave condition was felt around the world, from the PGA Tour event in North Carolina, and especially at a Champions Tour event in Alabama, which featured players who competed against Ballesteros in his prime.

They witnessed his genius with a club in hand, which led Ballesteros to five majors, 50 wins on the European Tour and a spirit so fierce that many consider him the most important figure in European golf history.

“He did for European golf what Tiger Woods did for worldwide golf,” three-time major champion Nick Price said. “The European Tour would not be where it is today if not for Seve Ballesteros. The guy, he was an icon, just an incredible golfer. I always said most of us could shoot 65 about 30 to 40 different ways. He had about 10,000 ways of shooting 65.”

Paul Casey, who as a kid used to watch Ballesteros work his magic at Wentworth, choked back tears after his round at the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour.

“He really blazed the trail for Europeans,” said Casey, who was clearly upset after his round at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. “Not only in the Ryder Cup, but also on the PGA Tour in how he played at Augusta and his victories over here. We owe a huge amount to him.”

Fanny Sunesson, the former caddie for Nick Faldo during some of those Ryder Cups, was asked her recollections and began to cry. “The tears say it all,” she said.

One of the biggest stars in Spain, even though golf was never a popular sport, news of his downturn transcended to other sports. Tennis star Rafael Nadal called Ballesteros “one of the greats of this country without a doubt, a reference point for all Spanish athletes.”

“Life can be cruel a lot of the time,” Nadal said at the Madrid Masters. “But we’ve seen him use his internal willpower to get out of situations before. What he did in sport is unbelievable. These are tough moments.”

Phil Mickelson honored Ballesteros by serving a Spanish dish at the Champions Dinner at the Masters this year. Mickelson recalled his first PGA Tour event as a teenager and the thrill of playing a practice round with Ballesteros.

“From that day on, he couldn’t have been nicer to me,” Mickelson said. “He showed me a few things, showed me a few shots, and ever since then, we’ve had a good relationship. … Because of the way he played the game, you were drawn to him.”

Ballesteros fainted at Madrid’s international airport while waiting to board a flight to Germany on Oct. 6, 2008, and was subsequently diagnosed with the brain tumor. One of his operations was a 6 1/2 -hour procedure to remove the tumor and reduce swelling around the brain. After leaving the hospital, he had chemotherapy.

Sergio Garcia figured most people would not have survived long past the initial surgery.

“He was a game-changer, not only for Europe, but for golf itself when he came out,” Garcia said. “Obviously, there was Jack and Arnie and all those guys, but he played differently. To be able to come from Spain and do what he did, it was something amazing.”

Ballesteros played in his last Ryder Cup in 1995 at Oak Hill. In a singles match against Tom Lehman, he didn’t hit a single fairway on the front nine and was still in the match. He wound up losing on the 15th hole.

“Nobody could have done that,” Lehman said. “Nobody could have done it form the places that he hit it. It’s the best nine holes of golf I’ve ever seen, that front nine. He shot even par. I would have shot probably 9 over.

“I think his body language was the strongest of anybody, maybe save Tiger in recent years,” Lehman said. “I’ve always said that his body language said, ‘Hey, I may have hit a really crappy shot right there, but if you miss this next one, you’ll miss the greatest shot ever hit.’ That’s just the way he walked, the way he acted, the way he carried himself. He never seemed to ever doubt his ability.”

Those great shots came from a parking lot at Royal Lytham in 1979, from the lip of a bunker in the 1983 Ryder Cup, from just about anywhere on any golf course.

“He had a remarkable effect on us,” Padraig Harrington said. “That’s why we wanted to play golf.”

Ballesteros looked thin and pale while making several public appearances in 2009 after being given what he referred to as the “mulligan of my life.” He rarely has been seen in public since March 2010, when he fell off a golf cart and hit his head on the ground.

His few appearances or public statements were usually in connection through work with his Seve Ballesteros Foundation to fight cancer.

After lobbying to have the Ryder Cup expanded to include continental Europe in 1979, Ballesteros helped beat the United States in 1985 to begin two decades of dominance.

Ballesteros retired in 2007 because of a long history of back pain, turning his focus to golf course design.

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

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Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.