09/01/2011

A flypast tribute to Seve?

IMG_0569.JPGOn the first day of the European Masters golf tournament there was a mini-flypast of two red air force jets: a tribute to Seve Ballesteros?


Despite all the big names in golf at the European Masters golf tournament in Crans-sur-Sierre (Westwood, Kaymer, McIlroy, Clarke, ...) it is almost impossible not to be reminded of Severiano (Seve) Ballesteros as he was when in his prime. He won this tournament three times, and his portrait in each of those three years is to be seen life-size around Crans.

On this first morning of the tournament, at which there appear to be record crowds (I heard that there had been three times as many tickets sold for the first day than for any previous first Thursday), we had the pleasure of a pair of air force jets (red, probably Swiss from Sion airport) flying past in formation as if fixed together by an invisible connection.

IMG_0570.JPGThe most amazing memorial to Seve, however, is the miracle shot that he played from next to a wall at the right of the 18th green after a drive with too much fade (what we normal golfers call a slice!). In one of the many tributes to him after his untimely death, his caddy remembered practically begging him just to chip out sideways onto the fairway. He just said "I have a shot for this situation", hit the ball almost vertically over the wall and through a minute gap in the fir trees, finishing just off the green. He then holed the chip for an impossible birdie. There is a plaque built to commemorate this feat, and just to go there to look in wonder is a privilege.

IMG_0568.JPGIn addition to this, when walking through the village, I discovered a stone mason carving out a circular area on the pavement, ready to put in a copper-coloured plaque to record his three victories. If I understood correctly, there will be three such plaques in the centre of Crans, so you can look for them the next time that you are there.

Seve: a golfing god who would merit an aerial flypast.

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