Seve Ballesteros Quotes (And What Others Said About Him)

Seve Ballesteros is a giant in golf's history, particularly in the history of golf in Europe, and of the European Tour. Ballesteros' emergence on the scene in the 1970s helped European golfers dream big about the possibilities of success for their own tour, about success in the Ryder Cup, and about success on the U.S. PGA Tour.

Seve's fiery intensity and his swashbuckling style of playing golf combined to make him a fan favorite, and to inspire — or sometimes infuriate — his opponents and fellow-competitors. Here's a look back at some of the best quotations from Seve Ballesteros, and some of the interesting quotes about him from others.

Things He Said: Seve Ballesteros Quotes

We'll start with one of Seve's best-known quotes, and probably one of the best things any golfer has ever said about match play:

"I look into their eyes, I shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, 'I am going to bury you.' "
And a few more quotes that also demonstrate Ballesteros' instensity and, when he was at his best, his self-assurance:

  • "Just by being here I'm already beginning to win."

  • "If you ever feel sorry for somebody on a golf course, you better go home. If you don't kill them, they'll kill you."

  • "I really believe that when things are going your way, it is your destiny to win. So many great things happen."

  • "Peter Alliss used to say I hit miracle shots. I never thought that. Miracles don't happen very often, and I was hitting those shots all the time."

  • "They say I get into too many bunkers. But is no problem. I am the best bunker player."

  • "The only time I talk on a golf course is to my caddie. And then only to complain when he gives me the wrong club."

Some quotations from the man about the game and about the swing:

  • "This game is great and very strange."

  • "Golf is an unpredictable game and we shouldn't become relaxed."

  • "It doesn't matter if you look like a beast before or after the hit, as long as you look like a beauty at the moment of impact."

  • "To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice."

  • "I play golf because I like it, very much. I play golf for money when I play an exhibition. But when I play in a tournament I'm there because I enjoy it."

  • "I knew at the time I won the Open in 1988 that I had reached some sort of peak, that it was a round of golf that I would think fondly about for the rest of my life."

Some things Seve said when he wasn't playing well:

  • "I'd like to see the fairways more narrow. Then everybody would have to play from the rough, not just me."

  • When asked to explain a four-putt during the 1990 Masters: "I miss, I miss, I miss, I make." (Note: This quote is one of the most-famous attributed to Seve, but its authenticity is also disputed. He may have said something similar, but not in those words, and then was later paraphrased in a humorous way.)

  • "Everything was fine until I walked onto the first tee."

  • "It is hard to know you don't have the game to win, and that making the cut is the best you can hope for. ... You lose confidence. You are what you believe you are."

  • On the media writing about his poor play: "I feel like I committed a crime, like I was doing something very bad."
In 2008, Ballesteros was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After multiple surgeries and treatments over the following several years, Seve died on May 7, 2011. He was only 54 years old. This quote is from one of his last interviews:

  • "For everything in life there is always a beginning and an end. This is the tough part, the most difficult thing, when you see that it's coming: The end."

Things They Said: Quotes About Seve

  • Andrew Coltart: "Seve Ballesteros was a real master of gamesmanship. He always seemed to have a tickly throat that he liked to clear. It was amazing how much worse it seemed to get the nearer he got to the 72nd hole."

  • Ben Crenshaw: "Seve can have an off week and still win. But if Seve plays well and the rest of us play well, Seve wins."

  • David Feherty: "No player but Seve had the ability to make my hair stand on end simply by watching him play."

  • Lee Trevino: "Every generation or so there emerges a golfer who is a little bit better than anybody else. I believe Ballesteros is one of them. On a golf course he’s got everything. I mean everything: touch, power, know-how, courage and charisma."

  • Tom Kite: "When he gets going, it's almost as if Seve is driving a Ferrari and the rest of us are in Chevrolets."

  • Andy North: "I played quite a bit of golf with him over those years. He was really a special player. He had such a flair for the game. ... I think that of all the players I played with, he probably had the best imagination of anybody I ever saw."

"Seve plays shots I don't even see in my dreams." — Ben Crenshaw
  • Hale Irwin: "His skills were maybe unmatched by anybody. His short-game skills around the green were unbelievable. ... I always thought Seve was one of the great shot-makers in our game and one of most colorful players I've witnessed in my career."

  • Bernard Gallacher: "America had Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Seve was our Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus rolled into one. You can't speak too highly of him. Seve was Europe's best ever player."

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