Mourners say farewell to Seve

2013 08 Seve

Friends from world of golf pay their respects to Ballesteros

The humble parish church of San Pedro de Pedreña in northern Spain provided a fitting setting in which the world of golf, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of one of the game's greatest ever talents, yet most modest men.

A lone piper led a seemingly endless procession through the streets of the small Spanish town in which Seve Ballesteros had lived. A compelling and endearing character who transcended the sport he so loved, Ballesteros passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning aged 54 following complications from a long battle with illness.

Six Ryder Cup captains were among the mourners who gathered for the funeral: 2012 European captain José Maria Olazábal, who with Seve formed the greatest partnership in Ryder Cup history, was joined by past captains Sir Nick Faldo, Bernard Gallacher, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam.

Miguel Angel Jiménez and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño were among the Spanish contingent with a host of European Tour players past and present who joined family and friends in Seve's hometown.

George O'Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and his predecessor Sir Michael Bonallack were also among those paying their respects.

The entrance to the church was adorned with floral tributes from around the world, with marks of respect from such as from the Spanish royal family and the government.

All 422 golf clubs across Spain, including at Pula Golf Club, host venue of the Iberdrola Open this week observed a minute's silence in honour of their nation's finest golfer.

Colin Montgomerie, who led Europe to Ryder Cup victory last October, said: "We came here as past Ryder Cup Captains, Tour officials and R&A officials and had to be here. When you see the support of such a legend it is unbelievable."

Recalling the inspirational phone call from Seve during The Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort, he added: "It was a very moving ten minutes for our team and a very influential ten minutes which perhaps swung the match in our favour. It is such a shame that passion will not be seen again. Now, after this mournful day, we have to celebrate his life."

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