Month: September 2002

Features

Seve. The Diagnosis

Severiano Ballesteros finished 204th on last year’s European order of merit – in his 28th season. It was the fifth consecutive year he had finished outside the top 100, and was his final year as a category one player (for having topped the 1991 order of merit – he also was number one in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1986 and 1988).
As an honorary member, and still a major attraction for any tournament sponsor, he will continue to compete this year, but many people are asking why.Towards the end of last year, while (perhaps ironically) conducting a clinic at San Roque, where he is redesigning the first course, having a house built and hoping to host this year’s Spanish Open (in fact, it went to the Canary Isles), Ballesteros explained what still motivated him.”I know what’s wrong. It’s very simple. I am bad physically with my back, and also my right shoulder. I think I hurt my back when I was 13, when I used to do boxing with my friends, and the shoulder may be from picking up my seven-year-old daughter.

“But there are other things. As you get older you lose some strength, some flexibility…The desire to compete is not quite as great, it is harder to leave your home and family behind, to be dedicated, and concentration is more difficult, too.”The worst thing for me is not playing well. You don’t enjoy it. You know you can do it but, for whatever reason, it goes. I say to myself a lot after a bad round, ‘No more of this. No more.’ But this frustration, it only lasts a minute. Then I try again.”
Seve says he has achieved his biggest goal. “I wanted to get married, and have a family, and make sure they were healthy and received a good education. One of my sons may be a professional golfer, he is very good already, nine handicap, and the other one may be a soccer player. He wants to play for Real Madrid. They both play golf, and I make them go out with just one club. Maybe a seven-iron one day, or a nine-iron another. It is good for teaching imagination.”Imagination is one quality for which Seve has always been number one. Perhaps it will help him through another difficult season.