Quick 9: Seve Ballesteros' greatest shots

History

The late, great Seve Ballesteros would have turned 61 this week. We celebrate some of his greatest ever shots, from his Match Play clash with Arnold Palmer, to his chip-in at the 1988 Open Championship.

Seve Ballesteros would have been celebrating his 61st birthday this week.

The five-time major champion died in 2011 from brain cancer but the Spanish maestro remains one of the most iconic figures to have ever played the game.

To commemorate his birthday and his genius on the course, here are nine of his greatest ever shots to help you remember what made him such a special player.

Masters 1986

Ballesteros was right in the thick of the action in one of the most exciting final rounds in Masters history.

The Spaniard fired two eagles to storm into the lead. However, it was his second eagle, on the infamous par-5 13th, that was the real showstopper.

His second shot, a long iron, hit the green and curled close to the pin. A textbook way to tackle a par 5.

Unfortunately for Ballesteros and his fans, he bogeyed 15 and 17 to leave the door open for Jack Nicklaus to claim his 18th and final major crown.

1997 Open de France

Now this is just ridiculous.

It’s difficult to get your head around just how much skill and technique it took for Ballesteros to strike it this cleanly when on his knees.

Oh, and with a massive tree in the way…

1988 Open Championship

The 1988 Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes was the first time in the competition’s history where play had to conclude on a Monday – but not even the rain delay could stop Ballesteros from producing his magic.

Locked in a battle with Nick Price, Ballesteros dealt the finishing blow with a deft chip on the 18th that settled close to the pin.

It would prove to be his last major title.

1989 Ryder Cup

A familiar duo were in scintillating form throughout the 1989 Ryder Cup at The Belfry.

Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal were trusted by skipper Tony Jacklin to tee it up together in each one of the fourball and foursomes sessions. The pair claimed three-and-a-half points out of a possible four.

And with shots like Ballesteros’ drive on the par-4 10th during the Friday afternoon fourball match against Tom Watson and Mark O’Meara, it’s not hard to see why the pair were so clinical.

The Spaniard’s drive cleared the water protecting the front of the green and landed on the putting surface.

He would roll the putt in for an eagle and the deadly duo would claim a resounding 6&5 victory.

1983 Ryder Cup

Ballesteros’ bunker shot on the par-5 18th at the PGA National during the 1983 Ryder Cup is widely regarded as one of the greatest shots ever played.

It was a pressure moment for Ballesteros as well. The Ryder Cup veteran was all-square in his singles match with Fuzzy Zeller heading to the 18th.

Instead of hitting out of the bunker and laying up, Ballesteros fired a 3-wood 245 yards over water and onto the green.

US captain Jack Nicklaus proclaimed that it was “the finest shot I have ever seen”.

Ballesteros would go on to par the hole and halve the match.

Unfortunately, no video footage of the sensational shot exists but here’s Seve’s former caddy Nick de Paul recalling that amazing shot.

1984 Open Championship

Seve gets to the infamous Road Hole, the 17th at St Andrews, level with Tom Watson who is in the group behind.

The Spaniard tugs his drive into the left rough which leaves an incredibly difficult angle to the green. With a six-iron from 193 yards, Seve manages to find the front of the green, a magical shot under the circumstances. He would two-putt for par, and then birdie the last to win by two shots.

1983 World Match Play Championship

Facing 54-year-old Arnold Palmer in the first round, Seve is one-down on the 18th tee.

Palmer is safely on the green in three shots, but Seve comes up in a tricky position, about 50 yards short, after two.

With an eight-iron, Seve hits a low running chip that lands a few feet on the putting surface and starts to swing across the green, before hitting the pin at speed and dropping for an eagle to take the match to extra holes.

You know how this story ends, right? Indeed, Seve would go on to win at the third extra hole.

1993 European Masters

Seve arrives at the 18th at Crans-sur-Sierre needing a birdie to have a chance at catching the leader Barry Lane. The famous final tee shot at Crans slopes viciously from left-to-right, and Seve had pushed his drive way right, up against a wall, and thus all but blowing the tournament.

Billy Foster, his caddie, advises Seve to chip out sideways but the Spaniard convinces himself that there is a gap to get the ball up towards the green. With half a backswing, Seve launches it through the tiny gap and the ball ends up a few yards short of the green. The very definition of a miracle shot.

Of course, Seve would chip it in for the most unlikely birdie. Agonisingly, Barry Lane holds on to win by a solitary shot.

Bonus: Seve Ballesteros amazing trick shot

OK, so this is not a shot from competitive action but it’s still impressive.

The short game master had all sorts of trick shots up his sleeve but this one is right up there.

The amazing Seve was quite the showman…

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