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7 May 2011

The Elvis of golf is dead

Severiano Ballesteros, 1957-2011.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

One of the greatest golfers of all time, the Spaniard Severiano Ballesteros, has died at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer. Ballesteros won five majors, including three Open championships, the first of which came in 1979, when he was just 22. (He’d almost won the Open three years earlier, at the age of 19.)

In 2008, shortly after news broke of Ballesteros’s illness, Gordon Thomson wrote an appreciation of the golfer for the New Statesman. “He looked like Elvis,” Thomson wrote, “played with more swagger than Arnold Palmer, and was followed around the course by a huge fan base and brooding clouds, which loomed over his head, ready to unleash a deluge of bad feeling whenever his mood darkened, as it nearly always did when things went wrong. He dared to be different, and we loved him for it.”

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