Prayers for Seve

By Brian HewittOctober 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker this week is all about the great Spaniard, Severiano Ballesteros, and his battle with a brain tumor that has him in stable but guarded condition in a Madrid hospital.
The response has been overwhelming.
Without further ado:
Jim writes: As an amateur golfer given the gift of a beautiful natural swing of my own, I could have worked my life away trying to emulate the swings of golf greats from all time to improve my game. But there was only one spirit of a man that I would ever want to follow as a golfer; that would be Seve. I will draw strength from watching him battle his new adversity.
The Comebacker
Whether Ballesteros passes on tomorrow or 30 years from now, that spirit will live on.

Adele writes: I have only recently taken up the game of golf. My almost 27 years of marriage to a golf nut; subsequent birth of two sons, now 23 and 26, both crazed golfers, has exposed me to loads of golf talk, recounted golf rounds, and hours of golf on TV. I know about Seve Ballesteros from the men in my family, and now I know something more about him from you. I would like him to know that as a Christian, my first priority will be to pray for his doctors, their wisdom and skill, and for him, and his knowledge of our great Healer, Jesus. I will pray for his family and their support, and for his many fans and their prayers and faith. May God bless you, Mr. Ballesteros, and may His love and grace shine on you brightly.
The Comebacker
Amen to that.

Albert writes: Jack, Tiger and Arnie (are) all great golfers, but at the end of the day the dynamic, dashing Spaniard named Seve entertained us in a way we may never see again.
The Comebacker
Palmer and Ballesteros, in their primes, were the only two players I would ever choose to describe as dashing.

Cole writes: I ask that all golfers do as our foursome did yesterday before we teed off. We raised our drivers as sabers and touched them, in honor and prayer for Seve, our Spanish Warrior. We ask that all golfers worldwide do this! Imagine the power we'll send Seve.'
The Comebacker
Consider them raised.

Jan writes: I have seen Seve playing and being Ryder Cup captain, sometimes far from smooth and in deep trouble on the course and around. One thing: He always gave it all and never backed off. Seve Ballesteros came to win. He will win this one. Cheers, Seve'
The Comebacker
Would loved to have seen Ballesteros and Woods going head-to-head at the peak of their games.

Sharon writes: Dear Mr. Ballesteros: Youre in my thoughts and prayers. (Fourteen) years ago I had a brain tumor, hemangeoblastoma on my cerebellum. I didn't play golf before my brain surgery, but a month after surgery I just had this desire to learn. My husband was so happy about this; we play a lot of golf together. God's going to take care of you. Please let me know how everything goes.'
The Comebacker
The golf world waits.

Jeff writes: Seve Ballesteros, you are a fierce competitor and I expect you to win this most important battle just as you did on the golf course in your heyday. He is the original master of the short game, a master of the moment, multiple major champion and his Ryder Cup match play gamesmanship and play will always be remembered. And most importantly he is a gentleman. Easily one of golfs all time greats! Get well, my friend. Seve, you are in our prayers! Long live Seve!
The Comebacker
To be sure, Ballesteros was born to play Ryder Cup golf.

Dan writes: I'm a retired FBI Agent. A seizure caused me to retire in 2002. A CAT scan and MRI disclosed that I had two brain tumors. The four days before they could be diagnosed were by far the most emotionally and fearfully difficult days of/in my life. Both, thank God, were diagnosed as benign. One was removed; the other was not, due to it's location in my brain. I wish Ballesteros the best and if you could pass on this little bit of encouragement to him, I would appreciate it.
The Comebacker
As I said, the response has been overwhelming.

Mark writes: I had the great opportunity to watch Mr. Ballesteros at the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill. Seve had driven his ball into the right rough on the very difficult par-4 fifth. To hit his second to the green from approximately 165 yards away, he would have to hit over a pond and over a very large tree that guards the dog-leg. I was about 20 yards away assessing the shot and figured that Seve would have to chip back to the fairway and hit his third to the green. I could not see the ball in the rough. Seve, then proceeded to hit a 9-iron or wedge over the tree and onto the green, and I stood there with my mouth open. One of the best shots I have ever seen. He walked to the green with a very confident gait expecting to hole the putt'
The Comebacker
With Ballesteros, I have no trouble picturing that story in my mind.

Jackson writes: Seve could make the wedge sing.'
The Comebacker
Short, but sweet.

Micheal writes: Yes, I am saddened by this news of Seve. I have admired him and his wonderful game for years even as he and his team beat the USA in the Ryder Cup. Who could forget his great shot making and his Masters wins.'
The Comebacker
Even his Masters defeats were memorable. Who can forget the ball he rinsed on the back nine that fueled Jack Nicklaus stirring comeback at Augusta National in 1986?

Gary writes: I am English and now live here in Orlando, but the first golf event I attended was the Bob Hope Classic at Moor Park, England. The major reason I attended was to watch both Greg Norman and Seve. After that day it was Seve who got me interested in golf. He seemed to make golf cool for everyone that wanted to play and had never had any real reason to do so. What a great player, man and entertainer. Seve made the Ryder Cup what it is today; lets hope we see him at the next and many more Ryder Cups for years to come'
The Comebacker
We can hope.

Ken writes: What a scary announcement about one of the greats to ever play our fine game of golf. Seve was one of the best shot makers the game has ever seen and I really enjoyed watching him make par or birdie from everywhere, but the fairway. He was also one of the fiercest competitors to ever lace up a pair of golf shoes. My prayers are with Seve and his family.'
The Comebacker
Amen, again.

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Seve Ballesteros Photo Gallery
  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.