The Community of Madrid, together with El Encín Golf Hotel, hosts for this week’s Bankia Madrid Masters, have paid tribute to the late Severiano Ballesteros.
Described by Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, as “one of the greatest golf and sports figures of all time”, Ballesteros’s legacy continues to be recognised across the world.
Both Seve’s son Javier and his brother Manuel were present at the ceremony yesterday, during which a sculpture with the name of Seve was unveiled. After the Bankia Madrid Masters, the sculpture will be permanently displayed at the El Encín Golf Hotel.
The inscription reads: "To Severiano Ballesteros from the Community of Madrid, as a tribute to the greatest Spanish golfer of all time". In addition, the distance markers on the 18th hole will recall Seve's foremost golfing feats.
Aguirre emphasised Ballesteros’s huge contribution to European golf and in popularising golf across Spain and indeed, the world.
“His greatest pride was his legacy to his children and to the younger generations, who have learnt from him that you only reach the top slowly and through hard work,” said Aguirre.
The President closed the act with the inspiring words of Seve himself.
“We are what we believe in. I reached my goals because I never expected praise and never allowed criticism to destroy me. I simply followed the inner voice of that little boy who wanted to be the best golfer in the world. I believed in myself.”
The President of the Community of Madrid also took the opportunity to stress the importance of the Bankia Madrid Masters in its new venue.
“El Encín Golf Hotel is now one of the best courses in Spain, has been built on Community land at no cost to taxpayers thanks to the courage and initiative of Joaquín Molpeceres.”
The President also stressed the benefits of the game of golf both for body and mind, and invited Seve's eldest son, Javier, to play with Luke Donald and herself in today’s Pro-Am.