Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius
Severiano Ballesteros is charismatic and can be charming, but his personality comprises layers of intrigue. Robert Green has written an amazing portrait of the man whose mind has been described as ‘a private forest, a place impenetrable, indeed dangerous to others’. Over the past twenty years no other journalist has enjoyed such regular contact with Seve – meetings, interviews, phone conversations and meals together, which have led to a video, a golf instruction book, many magazine features and now an autobiography. This extraordinary book begins with an incident on the first hole of the first series of fourball matches at the 1987 Ryder Cup, the year of Europe’s first ever success in the USA, an incident encapsulating Seve’s skill, bravado, what he brought to the Ryder Cup and his oft-expressed antipathy towards Americans. Green goes on to describe Seve’s family and upbringing in Pedrena on Spain’s North Coast, his first tour and first win. Seve’s glory years: five major championships in ten seasons, not without grief, most notably in the Masters, where his two titles could easily have been five or six, are detailed; also how his skills and enormous popularity enabled the European Tour to flourish primarily based on his efforts. The section on the Ryder Cup describes how Seve emerged as a force and how without him, it wouldn’t be the tournament it is today. The picture then turns blacker: the vehemence and verve with which Seve pursued victory in the Ryder Cup reflected the way he felt he had been treated on the US PGA Tour. Come September 2004, he became embroiled in a further spat after an apparent assault on a tour official in his home town. Green reveals Seve’s dark side, the side the public seldom sees. With personal and third-party insights, he shows him how he is: his generosity, his gregariousness, his caprices and manipulativeness, his business affairs, his relationships with past managers, his relationship with his wife Carmen and his three children.