Mourners say their farewells to Seve Ballesteros

PEDRENA, Spain --- To the mournful wail of a lone bagpipe, some of Europe's greatest golfers joined family, friends and local residents Wednesday at the funeral of Seve Ballesteros, paying an emotional final tribute to the dynamic Spaniard who revived the European game.

 

Ryder Cup captains Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance and Jose Maria Olazabal and players including Miguel Angel Jimenez marched together in silence as part of the procession from Ballesteros' family home to the church of San Pedro de Pedrena.

Young boys and girls wore replicas of the navy blue outfit that Ballesteros wore for his first British Open win in 1979. They each held a 3-iron, the only club Ballesteros owned when he learned to play golf.

Ballesteros, a five-time major winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, died Saturday at age 54 from complications of a cancerous brain tumor.

"He was so young and such a great man. A great champion -- the best Europe ever had," Torrance said.

Ballesteros' oldest son, Javier, carried the urn holding the Spanish golf great's ashes at the front of the procession, with the somber notes of a single bagpipe punctuating the occasion.

The crowd of up to 1,000 gathered outside the church burst into applause as Ballesteros' ashes reached the church. Locals, friends and others watched from one of the three giant screens set up outside.

"With hard work he went from nothing to everything, realizing his dream to be the best and to be in the heart of the people," said nephew Ivan Ballesteros, who was flanked by the golfer's sons Javier and Miguel on the church altar. "In the end he decided when and where it ended. Rest my friend, rest Seve."

"His roots were here in Pedrena, he never forgot that," said Asuncion Sota, a cousin of Ballesteros'. "Seve may have passed but his soul lives on here forever."

Said Faldo: "European golf owes Seve a great debt. He was the best frontman we could have ever dreamed of."

Faldo said he hoped the European Tour would consider suggestions to change the tour's logo to encompass the image of Ballesteros pumping his fist after sinking the putt that clinched the 1984 Open at St. Andrews.

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Wed, 08/16/2017 - 23:27

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