European Tour players, caddies and officials gathered at the Pula Golf Club chapel on Wednesday evening to hold an intimate memorial service in honour of Seve Ballesteros.
Just a few hours after the great man’s funeral in his home town of Pedreña, people gathered to remember one of the game’s great geniuses.
Led by the region’s local priest, Fray Tomeu, there was a small prayer service before Keith Waters, Director of International Policy of The European Tour, spoke on behalf of the players, caddies and officials.
“I have been reading a lot of tributes to Seve over the past days and the word that keeps coming back to me is pioneer.
“Seve was a true pioneer of European golf. He broke new ground for Europeans across the world and was the first European to win the Masters, which was a hugely significant achievement. He showed us all the way forward.
“In terms of The Ryder Cup, no-one did more to make the Matches what they are today than Seve. Along with Tony Jacklin, Seve made Europe a force in The Ryder Cup and changed the competition forever.
“I was lucky enough to play in the same era as Seve and privileged to play against him in the heat of the battle. He was a warrior on the golf course, but away from the game he was a very nice person who always took time to speak with you and make you feel like his friend.”
Fray Tomeu then invited the crowd to gather round a heart that had been drawn out in the grass of the nearby putting green. Placing a golf ball in the middle of the heart, the priest explained that the heart was a symbol of God, with the golf ball representing Seve.
“We know that you are now safe in God’s heart,” said Fray Tomeu in a moving blessing for the great man. As the service came to an end, a spontaneous minute’s applause broke out among the gathered crowd.