Special Moment At The Memorial
Golf Asia|June 2021
Players And Fans Stopped And Watched In Silence
Jim McCabe

It is impossible to be cold at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. Not in early June when stifling humidity engulfs the Midwest.

But a lasting memory frozen in time? It happened right there at Jack Nicklaus’ famed club, no matter that temperatures were fixed in the 30s Celsius and sweat flowed excessively from a few dozen players who were grinding away on the range.

Until they stopped. In unison. Which is where the memory becomes frozen, an unforgettable sight that was a tribute to the aura of Seve Ballesteros.

It was June of 2010 and Ballesteros, then 53 and deep in the throes of a battle with cancer, offered his thanks to Nicklaus and his tournament committee for being that year’s Memorial Tournament Honoree. Unable to attend, the gallant Spaniard was shown via video that was displayed on large Jumbotrons, one of which was positioned at the range.

That is where players stopped working and watched in silence. Some of them had competed against Ballesteros, many of them had turned pro well after the great man’s career had ended, all of them had benefited from the magic he brought to the sport.

“He was an artist. The game played him,” David Feherty once said. “He was super-natural. I always felt he was still in control of the ball even when it was 200 yards away from him.”

Feherty, one year younger than Ballesteros, felt blessed to have played the European Tour at a time when the Spaniard helped carry it into prominence. Ballesteros was to Europe what Arnold Palmer was to the American PGA TOUR, a mystical figure whom fans adored, and sponsors lined up for.

Before Ballesteros the European Tour “was a bunch of gardeners,” said Feherty.

But riding Ballesteros’ charisma and his uncanny ability to hit a golf ball yards off-line, then find it, and figure out how to manufacture an impossible escape was the engine that drove the European Tour to a position of enormous strength in the 1980s and 1990s.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine