Open field pays tribute to Seve

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A book of remembrance for the late Seve Ballesteros was signed by all the players at this week’s Open Championship.

A book of remembrance for the late Seve Ballesteros was signed by all the players at this week’s Open Championship.

Ballesteros, who won the event three times in his storied career and is considered the most charismatic European golfer in history, died in May, aged 54, after a two-and-a-half-year battle with a brain tumour.

The book is but one of a number of tributes that will be made to the Spanish great during the week.

An article in his honour is part of the official programme, numerous photos of Ballesteros have been placed around the site, and his image will appear on the drawsheets every day. Proceeds from those will be donated to his charitable foundation.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: “We placed a book of remembrance at the registration for all the players to sign, and all of them have done so, and some of them have chosen – in fact the majority – to write a message in that book.

“That book will be passed on to Seve’s family as a memento of this year’s championship, of course, but more particularly of Seve’s connection with the Open.

“The players were invited to give their messages in private and I don’t think it would be right for me to publish them without a particular player’s consent, but the thrust of all the messages was what a wonderful inspiration Seve had been to golfers the world over and particularly in Europe, and many of them actually said that Seve was their own inspiration to playing golf.

“He was the guy they all watched when they were kids and so on, and that he was going to be greatly missed. That was the general thrust of what everyone had to say.”

Seve’s first major, the first of five, came at Royal Lytham in 1979. He was only 22 years old, just a month older than Rory McIlroy when he won the US open last month.

Probably the greatest triumph of his career also came at the Open, at St Andrews in 1984, where his closing birdie denied Tom Watson a record-equaling sixth victory.

His final Open triumph was back at Royal Lytham four years later, when he won thanks to a final-round 65.

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