Tributes pour in after Ballesteros death

By Associated PressMay 7, 2011, 3:59 pm
MADRID – Tributes poured in from across the globe Saturday after five-time major winner Seve Ballesteros died of brain cancer, with players moved to tears by the passing of the dashing Spaniard who transformed European golf and the Ryder Cup.

Ballesteros died one day after his family said he had severely deteriorated in his recovery from multiple surgeries to remove a malignant brain tumor in 2008. He was 54.

“His creativity and inventiveness on the golf course may never be surpassed,” Tiger Woods wrote on Twitter. “His death came much too soon.”

George O’Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, called it “a very sad day for all who love golf” and said Ballesteros was the inspiration behind the tour.

The Spanish Open – site of Ballesteros’ record 50th and last European Tour win in 1995 – planned to honor Ballesteros with a minute of silence during Saturday’s third round, where former Ryder Cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal broke into tears before his tee time.

“I’m going to play because that’s the greatest honor I could give Seve,” said Olazabal, who teamed with Ballesteros to form one of the Ryder Cup’s greatest partnerships.

Olazabal, a two-time Masters champion, recalled Ballesteros’ “strength, his fighting spirit and passion for everything he did.” He said he last met Ballesteros on April 16.

“He wasn’t well but he was lucid,” Olazabal said. “We spoke about a lot of things and memories of the Ryder Cup. The best homage we can pay him is to continue playing, but I don’t think any of the homages we make will ever be sufficient enough.”

Also moved to tears on Saturday was Rafael Nadal, the top-ranked tennis star who called his win over Roger Federer in the semifinals of the Madrid Open inconsequential.

“This morning the first thing I did was to turn on TV, and the first thing I saw was that he had died,” said Nadal, who recalled the time he played 18 holes with Ballesteros.

“It’s a day of sadness when you wake up with news like that. You face your day differently. It is a loss that we’ll never get back due to all the values that Seve had,” Nadal said. “But luckily we have all of his videos and also we can remember him.”

Ballesteros’ funeral will be Wednesday in Pedrena, his native home in northern Spain, with family and close friends attending the subsequent wake. Three days of official mourning will be held in Cantabria, according to regional government head Miguel Angel Revilla.

“It is such a sad day for Spain, Europe and the world of golf, which has lost one of its icons,” said Colin Montgomerie, who knew Ballesteros well from the Ryder Cup. “But it is only right to celebrate his life. It was an honor to play for him and with him.”

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called Ballesteros a trailblazer.

“Severiano marks a before and after point in Spanish sports – his example opened the way for the extraordinary moment which our country’s sports is living through now,” Zapatero said in a statement. “He knew how to symbolize the image of the new, democratic Spain.”

Spanish golf federation President Gonzaga Escauriaza said Ballesteros was a “unique, unrepeatable person” who helped grow the game in his native country.

No. 1-ranked Lee Westwood wrote on Twitter: “It’s a sad day. Lost an inspiration, genius, role model, hero and friend. Seve made European golf what it is today.”

Three-time major winner Nick Price said Ballesteros was “light years ahead” after seeing him for the first time when they were both 21, calling it a “mesmerizing” moment. The pair dueled at the 1988 British Open, with Ballesteros rallying from a two-stroke deficit to beat Price by two shots with a final round 65 for his last major championship.

“He did for European golf what Tiger Woods did for worldwide golf. The European Tour would not be where it is today if not for Seve Ballesteros,” Price, whose brother died from the same ailment last year, said from a Champions Tour event in Alabama. “His allegiance to the European Tour was admirable. The guy, he was an icon, just an incredible golfer.”

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.

Tom Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion, recalled Ballesteros’ kindness.

“Such a competitive guy, so I always appreciated that he took the time to say something nice,” Lehman said. “As a competitor, he didn’t have to do that, but he did.”

He also marveled at the Spaniard’s attitude.

“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.”

All La Liga soccer games in Spain began after a minute’s silence held in memory of Ballesteros. Hercules team captain Francisco Pena placed flowers on the center of the field next to a pair of golf clubs before the match with Racing Santander. Racing players emerged from the dressing room with a golf cart bearing a club jersey and a slogan saying “Seve forever.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.