Celebrity deaths happen – we read about them every day. So why is it that some truly hurt, while others don’t? One that truly hurts me just happened — Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish golfer, has died at 54 from a brain tumor that he had been battling for more than two years. Seve was an extraordinary talent, but more than talent – he seemed to reach the realm of artistry with his intuitive, brash, creative way of attacking the game. He could hit the worst shot you’d ever see, and the best shot, usually in succession on the same hole. If he put his tee shot into the woods, which he did with some regularity, you found yourself waiting with delighted anticipation to see what sort of innovative, miraculous recovery shot he would be able fashion.
Most of us plod through life in some fashion — we get up, we try to hone our skills, and even if we rise to the level of something like a professional golfer, we are still somehow a grinder, a plodder — it’s just how life is, and how it grinds us down. Not so, Seve. A golf club in his hand was like a sabre; he slashed and attacked with such spirit, such verve. It heightens the cruelty we feel at the thought of him being taken at such a young age.
Seve was for European golf what Arnold Palmer was for golf in this country. He captured the imagination in a way that was unique, and he propelled golf from a fringe sport from one that captured the imagination of millions. He was truly loved and respected by his fellow golfers. At this years Masters Champions dinner he was honored in his absence, and you could sense that the end was near from the way his fellow champions (Seve won the Masters twice) talked about it. They knew something the rest of us didn’t. And now he’s gone.
This is one of those deaths that really hit you. RIP, Seve.