PEDRENA, SPAIN | This small Spanish fishing village will say goodbye to Seve Ballesteros, his final resting place under the magnolia tree in his backyard.
Many of golf’s luminaries Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance among them will be on hand Wednesday for the funeral of the man who won five majors and transformed the game in Europe.
Ballesteros died in his hometown Saturday at 54 of brain cancer. His ashes will be carried a few hundred yards from his home up the sloping road to the town parish. Big screens will be set up outside the ceremony for his fans. The day’s events will be broadcast live by Spanish state TV.
Pedrena has a population of only 1,500, but that surely will swell Wednesday. The church of San Pedro de Pedrena is expected to be filled to capacity in honor of the golfer whose dazzling game inspired a generation of players.
Ballesteros was perhaps Spain’s first major international sports star. He won three British Open and two Masters titles plus a record 50 European Tour victories. He was a player-captain on the winning 1997 Ryder Cup team.
Several young boys and girls will wear a replica of the navy blue outfit that Ballesteros wore for his first British Open win in 1979. Each will hold a 3-iron, the first club he used as a child.
“The funeral rites will be as simple as those for any neighbor from the village,” Ballesteros‘ brother, Baldomero, said. “He was born here and here he will remain.”