Valderrama, 25 years ago the European win



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Valderrama, 25 years ago the European win

He was the player who revolutionized the competition. Before he had done it with golf and the European circuit. Even a 'totem' like Jack Nicklaus said in 1987: "I don't have a Seve Ballesteros in my team"

Starting in 1985, his charisma but, above all, his game and his fighting spirit contributed to placing the Ryder Cup at unbelievable heights of popularity, media and television interest, merchandising, and excitement. In 1979, when two players from the continent such as Seve and Antonio Garrido entered the British team for the first time, the Ryder was just another tournament, without any of the impressive paraphernalia that accompanies it today.

It was Nicklaus who suggested that Europeans join the team because otherwise there would be no game. No emotion, no rivalry. And it was Seve and the US who took Ryder seriously.

Valderrama, history

Seve was captain of the European team in 1997 in Valderrama (Cádiz) although from 1983 to 1995 he was practically in the shadows (to a greater extent with Tony Jacklin, head of the team from 1983 to 1989, and to a lesser extent with Bernard Gallacher, who was from 1991 to 1995).

In 1983, after losing by one point at the PGA National, all the Europeans were dejected in the locker room. In those that Seve entered and told them loudly: "But what the hell are you doing sad and tearful, that we have been about to beat them and in his house man, up that mood"

In 1985 Europe won at The Belfry for the first time since 1957 and in 1987 he also took victory for the first time on American soil, and at Nicklaus's 'home', with the Cantabrian achieving the final point of victory.

Seve played 37 matches, including fourballs, foursomes and singles. His track record is impressive: 20 wins, 5 draws and 12 losses. And the association between him and Txema Olazábal must be described as truly spectacular, since forming a partnership with the Basque player they only lost two games in 11 fourballs and foursomes.

In 1979 he was, together with Antonio Garrido, the first golfer from continental Europe to be part of the team. Thanks to Ballesteros, the Ryder Cup left the British Isles for the first time and landed in Spain, in the historic edition of Valderrama'97.

Seve led the European team masterfully, preparing the pitch as only he could. That week in Andalusia it rained what is not written, but in the end all the planned matches could be played. The inauguration was attended by the King and Queen of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofía, and the closing ceremony was attended by the Infanta Elena and the President of the Government, José María Aznar.

It was the first Ryder of a Tiger Woods who had won his first 'major' that year, the Augusta Masters. Olazábal and Nacho Garrido shone in the European team. And as Seve's right-hand man, Miguel Ángel Jiménez acted as vice-captain.

The 'Pisha' still remembers today how Seve woke him up at 4 in the morning to discuss the next day's couples. "You want to let me sleep, milk... We can't discuss it later," the man from Malaga told him.

Seve went out of his way and despite the rain and the invasion of the green when Colin Montgomerie scored the final point he was able to enjoy his great moment.