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History of golf

How Ballesteros paved the way for European golf at the Masters (Part 1)

40 years ago, Seve Ballesteros became the first European golfer to win Masters, inspiring the famous major to conquer many juniors.

Ballestero’s achievements in the Masters

On April 13, 1980, Ballesteros put on the Blue Shirt in pride. This was not only for himself but also for his homeland of Spain and even Europe. He won at the age of 23. This was a record for championship age. Very few Europeans had the opportunity to enter the Augusta National Stadium to compete for the Masters.

Then in the following decade, other Europeans took turns wearing the Green Jacket. They were the Spanish compatriots of Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal in 1994, 1999, Bernhard Langer (1985, 1993), Sandy Lyle (1988), Ian Woosnam (1991), Sir Nick Faldo (1989, 1990, 1996). The closest is Sergio Garcia – another Spanish golfer, in 2017. Ballesteros himself won the Masters for the second time in 1983.

And according to that, European guests at the 1980 Masters include Ballesteros – defending champion of The Open Championship, Sandy Lyle – winning Order of Merit 1979, Mark James finishing fourth at The Open 1979 and Peter McEvoy – British Amateur champion Championship.

That year was the fourth time Ballesteros attended the Masters. But before that, he was a formidable opponent in the eyes of Americans. He had important contributions to the European team in the Ryder Cup.

Even American player Hale Irwin has given up. This was after Ballesteros defeated him at The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Irwin called Ballesteros the “parking lot champion” just because the opponent kicked in.

Ballesteros has been longing to conquer Augusta National for many years. He attended the Masters for the first time in 1977. Before that, that passion was also rekindled through fascinating stories about “holy land in the forest” through the narration of Ramon Sota – the uncle who finished sixth in the Masters in 1965.