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Seve Ballesteros receives emotional sendoff

May 11, 2011 | 11:04 am

Ll14ecnc Spanish golf great Seve Ballesteros received an emotional final tribute Wednesday.

Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez were among the members of the European golfing community that joined family, friends and fans at the funeral of the five-time major winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, who died at age 54 on Saturday of complications from brain cancer.

Lku12wnc “He was so young and such a great man," Torrance said. "A great champion — the best Europe ever had.”

Faldo added: “We all wanted to be here to support Seve and wish him the best. We loved him, he was great. It's a sad time, we lost someone very special. European golf owes Seve a great debt.”

Spanish flags decorated with black ribbons, photos and messages of support were all on display from the Ballesteros' family home to the church of San Pedro de Pedrena, a procession route that displayed Balleteros' humble roots.

“His roots were here in Pedrena, he never forgot that,” said Asuncion Sota, a cousin of Ballesteros'. “Seve may have passed but his soul lives on here forever.”

Children wore replicas of Ballesteros' outfit from his first British Open victory in 1979 and each of them held a 3-iron, the only club he owned while learning to play golf. Ballesteros' oldest son, Javier, carried the urn holding his father's ashes while helping to lead the procession, which was accompanied by the sound of a lone bagpipe and greeted by a crowd of up to 1,000 people upon arrival at the church.

The urn was placed above two golf clubs and a golf ball at the foot of the altar. After a service in front of about 400 people, Ballesteros' brother Vicente carried the urn back to the family home, where the ashes were spread under a magnolia tree during a private family ceremony.

Faldo and Montgomerie were among those voicing their support of changing the European Tour's logo to encorporate the image of Ballesteros pumping his fist after clinching the 1984 Open at St. Andrews.

“We will look at it nice and calmly, and if we do consider any single player's image at the moment it would be Seve's,” European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said.


Photos: Seve Ballesteros, 1957-2011

Seve Ballesteros remembered by fellow golfers for shotmaking, passion

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Top photo: Javier Ballesteros, center, carries the ashes of his father, Seve Ballesteros, beside his sister, Carmen, during a procession for the legendary Spanish golfer Wednesday in Pedrena, Spain. Credit: Denis Doyle / Getty Images

Bottom photo: Seve Ballesteros, of Spain, after winning the 1980 Masters, in Augusta, Ga. Credit: Associated Press