Of very few men could it be said that they changed the face of a sport.
In golf, none left their mark quite like Severiano Ballesteros.
The suave, dashing swashbuckler from Pedrena, a small fishing village on Spain's windswept northern coast, was "special," as his brothers warned us before he exploded onto the scene, still a teen, with a second-place finish at the 1976 British Open.
"He was the greatest show on earth," said his contemporary, Nick Faldo.
And in that, Faldo has never been more right, because although other champions may have won more often, when Seve was Seve, and at the top of his game, there was no taking your eyes off him.
"On a golf course he had everything," Lee Trevino once said, "I mean everything; touch, power, know-how, courage and charisma."
Ballesteros routinely pulled off audacious shots others wouldn't even dream of attempting, and while the bravado that fuels such aggression was very much in his nature, some of it's explained, too, by the fact that he came from a country not steeped in golf tradition, so he wasn't bound by conventions and dogma.
He wasn't restricted to the "right" way of doing things.
He'd learned to play as a boy on the sand with a rusted 3-iron.
He had, in essence, invented his own way to play, guided by an artist's eye and an indefatigable determination to succeed.
"The aspect of his personality that shone through more than anything for me was his self-belief," said his European Ryder Cup teammate, Sam Torrance. "Seve was convinced he could do anything if he set his mind to it."
It wasn't coincidental that when Seve's self-taught game began to desert him in his mid-30s and, in desperation, he reached out to noted golf instructors for conventional teaching, that his deterioration only worsened.
The truth is that he could only do it his way or he couldn't do it at all.
Seve Always The Fighter ... In Golf And Life -- Robert Lusetich
The Meck Report / Blog - May 8, 2011 - 1:45p