Memories of Seve Ballesteros all around Royal Lytham
IT WON’T be the same not being at Lytham. But Jose Maria Olazabal will still be thinking about his great friend Seve Ballesteros when this week’s Open Championship unfolds on the course where the Spaniard won two of his three titles in the world’s oldest major.
Last year’s event at Royal St George’s was the first following Seve’s death after losing his fight against brain cancer at the age of 54 and the return to Lytham will be another emotional occasion after his two wins there – in 1979 and 1988.
“Seve is always in your mind there,” said Olazabal. “I tried hard at Sunningdale (last month) to qualify and that was one of the reasons, because Seve won twice at Lytham and it would have been nice for me to be there. Unfortunately, it is not going to be.
“It is emotional. Whenever you play the Open Championship, Seve is always in my mind. I won’t do anything special to remember him this week. I will be watching on TV at home and Seve will be there in my mind.
“Whenever they show certain holes, you can still see Seve out there playing some of his shots, hitting the ball from a certain spot. It will bring back memories.”
Chief among them will be seeing the swashbuckling Spaniard providing one of golf’s iconic moments by making a birdie from the car park on the 16th on the way to his first triumph on the Lancashire links 33 years ago.
“Like anyone else, I always remember the car park shot. I think that is a moment that I will always remember,” added this year’s Ryder Cup captain.
“I was at home in Spain. I did not watch it live because they didn’t show the golf in those days back home – but I have the video tape and I have watched it many times.
“The funny thing about that is that Seve did not consider that much of a shot, to be honest.
“He said to me once that he knew that, off the tee, anywhere on the right in the car park was a good position to be in to attack that flag. That was true – but only for him.
“Did I ever try and repeat the car park shot? No, no, that’s not for me.”
It’s mainly thanks to the influence of Seve that Olazabal will actually be able to watch this week’s action from Lytham at home in Fuenterrabia in northern Spain.
“The good thing is that they have started showing the golf now in Spain a lot more, but it took a while,” he said. “Football was the main sport back then and still is – but they do show the golf now, thanks very much to what Seve did.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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