Last night, at 2:10 am local time, Seve Ballesteros passed away. And with this, golf lost one of its great brothers.
Ballesteros, a five-time major winner, collected 87 titles throughout his career and inspired a continent. It wasn't just the country of Spain whose pride laid in Ballesteros; rather all of Europe.
European Tour chief executive George O' Grady said via the tour's website, "Seve's unique legacy must be the inspiration he has given to so many to watch, support, and play golf, and finally to fight a cruel illness with equal flair, passion, and fierce determination. We have all been so blessed to live in his era. He was the inspiration behind the European Tour."
Ballesteros' game was centered on playing golf from places many never saw on a golf course, and making shots out of there. He was truly an innovator of the game, and inspired European and American players alike.
Hit particularly hard by the news was Spanish golfer, Sergio Garcia. "Seve was my idol," Garcia said. "He was golf, he meant so much to Spain, to the Ryder Cup, to golf everywhere. He was a fighter. It's just sad." A fellow Spaniard, Garcia has maintained that Ballesteros was always a huge inspiration for him. When you see the fiery Spanish spirit of Garcia, you are getting a glimpse of what Ballesteros was.
Ballesteros compiled a record of 20-12-5 at the Ryder Cup, and captained the victorious 1997 European squad.
This year, Phil Mickelson paid tribute to Ballesteros' legacy by serving a Spanish dish. He remembered his first time meeting Ballesteros when he was a teenager at an event, and how Seve helped him around the course.
Ballesteros set the record at the Masters for youngest champion at 23, where he at one point led by 10 strokes, instead finishing four strokes ahead. The only golfer to break that record? Tiger Woods.
The true impact of Seve, however, was shown on fellow countrymen Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez' faces, when the two were in tears when they heard of Ballesteros' poor condition midday Friday.
Whether American or European, or anything else, Seve Ballesteros was one of the greats. He will be missed dearly. May your prayers go out to the Ballesteros family, and up to Seve.