Seve Ballesteros, a five-time major champion whose passion and gift for imaginative shot-making invigorated European golf and the Ryder Cup, has died from complications of a cancerous brain tumor. He was 54. A statement on Ballesteros' website early today said the golf great died peacefully at 2:10am local time, surrounded by his family at his home in Pedrena, northern Spain. Ballesteros, a two-time Masters champion and three-time winner of the British Open, was a handsome figure who feared no shot and often played from where no golfer had ever been.
In a long list of spectacular shots, perhaps the most memorable came from a parking lot next to the 16th fairway in the 1979 British Open. Leading by two shots in the final round, he drove his ball into the lot, had a car removed to get his free drop, then fired his second shot to 15 feet and made birdie on his way to his first major. "He was a man who got into trouble. Only for Seve, there was no such thing as trouble," Gary Player once said. "He could manufacture shots like a genius."