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Seve Ballesteros gone but not forgotton as Europe retain Ryder Cup

Updated: Monday, 01 Oct 2012 11:38 | Comments

2012 Ryder Cup champions
2012 Ryder Cup champions

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Europe's triumphant players had Seve Ballesteros on their minds after their remarkable Ryder Cup victory in Medinah.

The team wore the colours so associated with Ballesteros - a navy jumper, trousers and white shirt - in Sunday's singles, with an iconic silhouette of the five-time major winner on their shirt sleeves.

The image recreates Ballesteros' most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews, an image the Spaniard used for his own company and had tattooed on his left arm.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me ... there's no chance I would have won my match if he wasn't there" - Sergio Garcia

Ballesteros, who captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, died in May last year after a long illness, but was always going to be a key figure during the captaincy of his cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal.

"I have no doubt in my mind that he was with me today all day, because there's no chance I would have won my match if he wasn't there," said Sergio Garcia, who won the last two holes to claim a crucial win over Jim Furyk.

"It was amazing and it feels so good to be able to win it for him and for our captain, Jose; it's been amazing."

Justin Rose had spoken fondly about Ballesteros earlier in the week, remembering how the five-time major winner had consoled him during the run of 21 consecutive missed cuts at the start of his professional career.

And after also winning the last two holes - both with birdies - to beat Phil Mickelson, the Englishman added: "In the moment you've got to do what you've got to do, but as soon as I holed that putt (on the 18th), as soon as I came off the green, my first thought has been to Seve, absolutely.

"I had a glance down and looked at my left sleeve and that's the kind of stuff he would have done today."

Speaking before the remarkable comeback had been completed, Rose added: "He's been an inspiration for this team all week long and who knows, if something crazy happens today, I know that we are going to be looking upwards."

Ian Poulter was another European player to win the last two holes of his match, making it four wins out of four and an amazing 12 wins in his 15 Ryder Cup matches.

"This was a team performance and the team have done an unbelievable job," said Poulter, one of Olazabal's two wild cards. "There was a buzz in the team room last night that didn't feel like we had a four-point deficit.

"For some reason, everyone was calm. Everyone was cracking jokes. We just felt we had that tiny little chance and the boys have proved it today and made history. It has been unbelievable.

"My captain picked me to come and play and I owe it to him, and Seve, to be here today. It's pretty special" - Ian Poulter

European captain Olazabal was understandably the most emotional of the group following the win. He said: "Seve, it's the first time that he's not here with us at the Ryder Cup. I do have wonderful memories from my matches with him. He was a very special man and he's very close to my heart.

"All these guys sitting here in this media room know how much this week has meant to me. I get emotional about it but I want to thank them for what they did today. They gave me the best week of my life.

"And I'm just glad that I had the 12 men on my side ready to give their best during the whole week.

"The start of the week was a tough one. Nothing went our way, but these guys kept on believing, and I'm sure that not just the silhouette, but the phone call Seve made last time at Celtic Manor in 2010 and all the images of Seve around the clubhouse, the locker room and things like that, kept that spirit alive.

"So it's not just me. I think these guys did it also for him."

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