I love golf. Have since I was a kid.
Do I play? No. But I’m a huge fan.
I discovered golf via television. We didn’t have cable back in the day, and on the weekends, coverage of major tourneys took over the networks…so I watched. And I became enamored with the complexities and competition of the sport.
And, of course, the personalities.
Long before Tiger Woods dominated the world of golf, I was obsessed with a Spaniard by the name of Seve Ballesteros. He burst onto the scene in the late 70′s, becoming the youngest player to win the Masters in 1980 at age 23. (Tiger, of course, went on to break that record in 1997.)
Seve was everything my hometown of Fancy Farm, Kentucky (population: 400) was not. He was exotic, good-looking, and world-traveled, and perhaps I assigned those same qualities to the sport of golf.
Seve went on to win five major championships over his career and was a great team player for the Internationals at the Ryder Cup. He struggled in later years with back problems and retired in 2007.
In 2008, Seve was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Following surgery and chemotherapy, he is now partially blind in his left eye. During his recuperation, he founded the Seve Ballesteros Foundation to help others with cancer fight the disease.
His story has inspired so many people on and off the golf course. And, as recently as Wednesday, he pledged to return to the 2010 British Open and play a round.
And people wonder why I love the game of golf.