Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Alvaro Barrientos/AP/Press Association Images Candles and a red flower are seen beside golf shoes outside the church in Pedrena earlier.
# Fond farewell
In pictures: Ballesteros family and golf world gather to say goodbye to Seve
Legendary golfer is buried in small town of Pedrena in Spain.

TO THE MOURNFUL wail of a lone bagpipe, some of Europe’s greatest golfers joined family, friends and local residents at the funeral of Seve Ballesteros today, paying an emotional final tribute to the dynamic Spaniard who revived the European game.

Ryder Cup captains Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Jose Maria Olazabal and players including Miguel Angel Jimenez marched together in silence as part of the procession from Ballesteros’ family home to the church of San Pedro de Pedrena.

Young boys and girls wore replicas of the navy blue outfit that Ballesteros wore for his first British Open win in 1979. They each held a 3-iron, the only club Ballesteros owned when he learned to play golf.

About 400 people packed the church to provide Ballesteros with one final send-off before his ashes were spread under a magnolia tree at the family home in this tiny fishing village in northern Spain.

Ballesteros, a five-time major winner and Ryder Cup stalwart, died Saturday at age 54 from complications of a cancerous brain tumor.

“He was so young and such a great man. A great champion — the best Europe ever had,” Torrance said.

Ballesteros’ oldest son, Javier, carried the urn holding the Spanish golf great’s ashes at the front of the procession, with the somber notes of a single bagpipe punctuating the occasion on an overcast day in the village off the Bay of Santander.

The crowd of up to 1,000 gathered outside the church burst into applause as Ballesteros’ ashes reached the church. Locals, friends and others watched from one of the three giant screens set up outside.

“With hard work he went from nothing to everything, realizing his dream to be the best and to be in the heart of the people,” said nephew Ivan Ballesteros, who was flanked by the golfer’s sons Javier and Miguel on the church altar. “In the end he decided when and where it ended. Rest my friend, rest Seve.”

Relatives inside the church wept and embraced, and so did friends and Pedrena residents watching outside after applauding heartily.

“It’s not a goodbye — we know you’ll always be here by our side,” Ballesteros’ son Miguel said.

Ballesteros’ brother Vicente picked up the urn — which had been set above two golf clubs and a golf ball at the foot of the altar — and carried it out of the church back to the family home, where a private family ceremony was held before the ashes were placed under the magnolia tree overlooking the nearby Real Club de Golf Pedrena course where his career began.

“We all wanted to be here to support Seve and wish him the best. We loved him, he was great,” Faldo said. “It’s a sad time, we lost someone very special. European golf owes Seve a great debt.”

Ian Woosnam said Ballesteros did for European golf what Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus did for the American tour. The Spaniard won a record 50 European Tour victories and led Europe to victories in the Ryder Cup both as a player and captain.

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Faldo, Woosnam and Montgomerie said they all hoped the European Tour would consider suggestions to change the tour’s logo to encompass the iconic image of Ballesteros pumping his fist after sinking the putt that clinched the 1984 Open at St Andrews.

“We will look at it nice and calmly, and if we do consider any single player’s image at the moment it would be Seve’s,” European Tour chief executive George O’Grady said.

In pictures: Ballesteros family and golf world gather to say goodbye to Seve
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  • Seve's farewell

    Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance, and Colin Montgomerie make their way into the church.
  • Seve's farewell

    Seve Ballesteros' brother, Vicente, front center, holds the urn in honor of Spanish professional golfer Seve Ballesteros, during his funeral service in the small town of Pedrena, Spain today.Source: AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos
  • Seve's farewell

    A relative of the deceased golfer fixes a black ribbon beside a poster outside the chapel.
  • Seve's farewell

    Miguel Angel Jimenez amongst the huge crowd. Source: Alvaro Barrientos/AP/Press Association Images
  • Seve's farewell

    Candles and a red flower are seen beside golf shoes during the funeral service.Source: Alvaro Barrientos/AP/Press Association Images
  • Seve's farewell

    Former Ryder Cup playing partner Jose Maria Olazabal, center left, is comforted after the service. Source: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/AP/Press Association Images
  • Seve's farewell

    Former Ryder Cup colleague Nick Faldo attends the service. Source: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/AP/Press Association Images