Ballesteros captained the European team to victory in the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, the first Ryder Cup played in Spain.
Seve Ballesteros, 1957-2011
Seve Ballesteros, one of the best golfers of his generation and perhaps the most charismatic, died early Saturday in his native Spain at age 54. Between 1979 and 1995, Ballesteros won five major championships, formed half of the most successful Ryder Cup pairing of all time and was ranked No. 1 in the world. He also captained a victorious European Ryder Cup team in 1997 and was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
Winning his first major
Ballesteros celebrated on the 18th fairway at Royal Lytham and St. Annes on his way to winning his first major championship, the 1979 British Open.
A newly eligible Ryder Cupper
Ballesteros (fourth from right) played in his first Ryder Cup in 1979, the first year the United States' opponent was expanded from Great Britain and Ireland to all of Europe.
A vivid imagination
As talented as Ballesteros was, his driving was often erratic. "I don't aim for the rough," he once said. "(The ball) just goes there." But that's where his imaginative short game came into play. He often fashioned escapes from seemingly inescapable trouble, and once made a birdie in a British Open after hitting his approach shot from a parking lot.
Back to his roots on the beach
Ballesteros said he learned to play golf as a child by practicing on the beach near his home in Pedrena, Spain. Many years later he posed next to a flag and a hole on the same beach.
Making history at the Masters
When Ballesteros won the 1980 Masters at age 23, he became the tournament's first European winner and, at the time, its youngest.
Winning his second Masters
Ballesteros, being helped into his winner's green jacket by 1982 champion Craig Stadler, finished four shots ahead of Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite to win his second Masters in 1983.
Winning his second British Open
Ballesteros birdied the final hole at St. Andrews in 1984 to win his second British Open, defeating Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer by two shots.
Changing Europe's fortunes in the 1985 Ryder Cup
Ballesteros, spraying captain Tony Jacklin with champagne, helped Europe win the 1985 Ryder Cup, handing the U.S. its first loss since 1957. The win also began a stretch in which Europe won or tied nine of the next 13 matches.
A dominant Ryder Cup pairing with Olazabal
Ballesteros and fellow Spaniard Jose-Maria Olazabal (left) formed the most successful Ryder Cup pairing of all time, winning 11 times and tying twice in 15 Ryder Cup matches vs. Americans.
Almost spoiling Nicklaus' party
Ballesteros had a three-shot lead at one point on the back nine on the final day of the 1986 Masters, but fell out of contention after hitting a shot into the water at the 15th hole. He wound up finishing fourth, two shots behind Jack Nicklaus, who stunned the golf world by winning his sixth Masters and final major championship at the age of 46.
Winning his final major
Ballesteros' final major championship win came in the 1988 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. He defeated Nick Price by two shots.