Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros won nine PGA Tour events during his golf career. Five of those wins came in major tournaments. Although Ballesteros was successful on the PGA Tour, he was even better on the European equivilent. Ballesteros won an all-time record 50 European Tour events between 1976 and 1995. The Spaniard’s success on the European Tour was so great that he won a tournament on the circuit in 17 straight golf seasons.
Ballesteros’ career started in 1974. He was a mere 16-years old when he became a professional golfer in his Spanish homeland. It didn’t take Ballesteros long to become known all around the golf world as he finished second at the 1976 Open Championship. Just three years later, he won his first Open Championship. He went on to win the tournament two more occasions. In 1980, Ballesteros won his first green jacket at Augusta National. His first of two Masters tournaments set two records at the golf event. Ballesteros was the first European to win the Masters along with being the youngest player (23-years old) to be awarded a green jacket.
While he won multiple Open Championship and Masters events, Ballesteros was unable to win the PGA’s other two major tournaments. He finished third at the 1987 US Open and fifth at the 1984 PGA Championship. Despite missing out on golf’s holy grail of the grand slam, Ballesteros still left a lasting legacy on professional golf.
Ballesteros’s life was cut incredibly short following his golf retirement. In 2008, it was announced Ballesteros had a malignant brain tumour. He went through numerous surgeries and chemotherapy following the announcement of his tumour, but the tumour continued to come back. In May 2011, after years of Ballesteros’ condition deteriorating, he passed away on May 7th.
Ballesteros’ death struck Spanish sports and the world of golf hard. Lee Westwood claimed Ballesteros made European golf into the sporting event it is today. It was high praise from another golf great. Ballesteros’ life and senior playing career may have been cut dramatically short but his legacy lives on as one of the best to ever play on both the European and PGA tours.