It turns out Seve was looking down and proved to be Europe’s Guardian Angel.
Prior to the matches starting, when José María Olazábal was asked what advice Seve Ballesteros would give him, he responded, “Play with heart, play with passion and win the damn points!”
Ultimately this is exactly what the Europeans did. While the Americans took a strong and fast lead Friday and Saturday the Europeans rallied back to win. As Martin Kaymer’s putt dropped in on the 18th green the match was decided and Europe would retain the Ryder Cup. Just as Kaymer’s putt dropped Captain Olazábal looked to the sky with tears in his eyes.
On Sunday when it came down to the singles matches perhaps the uniforms for the Europeans were foreshadowing their fate. The blue pants, white shirt and blue sweater, Seve Ballesteros’ signature outfit, was the European team’s way of paying tribute to the late Ballesteros by dressing in his image. His signature logo, his iconic image with one arm raised in triumph from the 1984 Open, was present on each player’s golf bag, on their left sleeve and clearly in their hearts and minds.
When asked about his remarks that he felt Seve in the team room Saturday night and how Seve’s presence was felt throughout, Olazabal responded, “Seve will always be present with his team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think they boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”
Ian Poulter, whose passionate demeanor resembles Seve’s, reflected on what he felt being part of this winning team. “You know what , my captain picked me to come and play, and you know, I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. So it’s pretty special.” Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia also credit Seve as an inspiration to contributing to their win. “I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day,” said Garcia. “Because there is no chance I would have won my match if he wasn’t there.”
Olazabal has been quoted as saying “Seve always said that (1984 Open win) was the sweetest moment in his career, winning at St. Andrews, making that putt to beat Tom Watson.” The baton it seems was passed to Martin Kaymer whose winning putt on 18 was perhaps assisted by a guardian angel. “He (Seve) is already smiling about it. It is the first time he is not here with us for Ryder Cup. I have wonderful memories of my matches with him. All of the images we had this week around us kept his spirit alive.”
Just as Kaymer’s putt and Europe’s win will not be forgotten, nor will the man who inspired the 2012 European Ryder Cup team from above.