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Sports Then and Now



Seve Ballesteros Brought Flair and Passion to the Golf World 2

Posted on May 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Seve Ballestros brought flair and passion to the game of golf.

The golf world lost a superstar with the death on Saturday of five-time Major Champion Seve Ballesteros after a long battle with Cancer. Known for his style and passion on the course, the Spaniard was not only one of the best players of his era, but he helped foster the international flavor of golf and turn the Ryder Cup into a major event.

Only 16 when he turned pro in 1974, Ballesteros emerged on the radar just two years later when he led the 1976 British Open by two strokes after three rounds. Though he faded with a 74 in the final round, he still finished tied with Jack Nicklaus for second behind Johnny Miller.

He went on to lead the European Tour money list that year, something he would do six times, and by 1979 was recognized as one of the up-and-coming stars in the golf world.

During the 1979 season he claimed his first major championship by winning the British Open by three stokes over Ben Crenshaw and Nicklaus. Only 22 years old, Ballesteros was the youngest winner of the British Open in the 20th Century and the first player from continental Europe to win a major title since 1907.

The following year, Ballesteros won his first green jacket with a four stroke victory at the Masters. He led by as many as 10 strokes during the final round before ultimately winning by four strokes. He was the youngest Masters Champion until Tiger Woods broke his mark 17 years later. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

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      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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