Legendary golfer Seve Ballesteros died Saturday from complications of a cancerous brain tumor at the age of 54.
A trio of ESPN analysts shared their thoughts on the life of Ballesteros:
Andy North, two-time U.S. Open Champion – “I played quite a bit of golf with him over those years. He was really a special player. He had such a flare for the game. He was one of those players that the fans just bond to. They loved the way he played. He was aggressive, he was entertaining to watch. And I think that of all the players I played with, he probably had the best imagination of anybody I ever saw. He was fun to watch even when you were playing with him. He was one of the first (European) players that came over here and won. He won a couple of Masters so early in his career. He was the Rory McIlroy, the Sergio Garcia. He probably had a bigger impact on golf in Spain. He did some unbelievable things and worked with a number of good Spanish players that were coming along over several years of time and they all talked about looking up to him because he was their guy. He was important for golf in Europe but really, really important for golf in Spain. And then, he had an unbelievable effect on the Ryder Cup. I think if you look back he won major championships of golf all over the world but he had such a huge impact on the Ryder Cup. He was the straw that stirred their drink basically for all those years when they were so dominant.”
Curtis Strange, two-time U.S. Open Champion – “He was so respected as a player and so admired as a player. His impact on golf to me was more what he did for the European Tour and the Ryder Cup. Those both go hand in hand. It’s not far-fetched at all to say that he was the Arnold Palmer of his day on the European Tour, without a doubt. He did so much. The European Tour benefited from the Ryder Cup and vice-versa, all because of Seve. He was very gifted (as a player). To me he was sort of a throwback He played so much by feel, by intuition. If I was a spectator going to a golf tournament and he was a player, he’s the guy I would go watch.”
Pauk Azinger, 1993 PGA Champion – “Seve was the most passionate player I have ever faced and the most patriotic. Tremendous flare for the game. Even though we’ve had some tense moments, we respected each other and our differences were resolved after the ’91 Ryder Cup. He was one of the first players to call me when I got sick in ’93. We played a Shell Wonderful World of Golf match at St. Andrews in ’95. One of the most talented and flamboyant players ever to play the game.”