Faldo Olazabal among players attending Ballesteros funeral


PEDRENA, Spain – Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance are among the luminaries who will attend the funeral of Seve Ballesteros in the small Spanish fishing village of Pedrena on Wednesday.

The funeral will be at the church of San Pedro de Pedrena, which is expected to be full. Ballesteros’ ashes will be carried a few hundred meters from his home up the sloping road to the town parish. Big screens will be set up outside the ceremony for his fans.

Ballesteros, the five-time major champion, died in his hometown on Saturday at age 54 of brain cancer.

Several young boys and girls will wear a replica of the navy blue outfit that Ballesteros wore for his first British Open win in 1979. They will also each hold a 3-iron, the first club he used as a child.

“The funeral rites will be as simple as those for any neighbor from the village,” Ballesteros’ brother, Baldomero, said. “He was born here and here he will remain.”

Ballesteros’ final resting place will be under the magnolia tree in his backyard.

Nephew Ivan Ballesteros told The Associated Press on Tuesday that former Ryder Cup captains Faldo, Montgomerie and Torrance would be in attendance, while top-ranked Lee Westwood is also expected to appear.

Spanish state TV will broadcast the event live from the village of 1,500, saying goodbye to the golf great whose dazzling play and penchant for flair inspired a generation of players.

Ballesteros was perhaps Spain’s first major international sports star, helping to transform European golf by winning three British Open and two Masters titles plus a record 50 European Tour victories. He was also a player and captain in the successful 1997 Ryder Cup team.