'Do It For Seve!' - The Late Great Ballesteros Inspired Jon Rahm To Masters Glory

Rahm becomes the fourth Spaniard to win The Masters, following Garcia, Olazábal and Ballesteros

Jon Rahm looks to the sky after winning the Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As 2023 Masters champion Jon Rahm came off the green Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club, he hugged fellow countryman José María Olazábal, a two-time Masters champion. They share a common bond, as do all Spanish golfers, their admiration and appreciation for the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

Rahm won on Easter Sunday, but it was also Severiano Ballesteros' birthday, which Rahm was fully aware of this week. 

Along with Ballesteros, Olazábal -- and Sergio Garcia, who also won on Ballesteros' birthday exactly six years ago -- Rahm became the fourth Spaniard to win a Masters.

"Happy Easter, and Rest In Peace, Seve," Rahm said at the end of his acceptance speech during the outside trophy presentation behind the 18th green. At the press conference a half hour later, he would elaborate.

"This one was for Seve," Rahm said.  "He was up there helping, and help he did."

Ballesteros, who died from brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 54, would have been 66 on Masters. He was a former No.1 player in the world. And with the win on Sunday, Rahm reclaimed the top spot in the World Golf Ranking from defending Masters champion Scottie Scheffer, who finished in a tie for 10th this week. 

All day, Rahm was bombarded with chants, "Do it for Seve; Do it for Seve!"

"I heard that the entire back nine," said Rahm, who finished 12-under par, 276 and overcame a two-shot deficit to Brooks Koepka (who tied for second with fellow LIV Golfer Phil Mickelson) when he started the final round late Sunday. "That might have been the hardest thing to control today, is the emotion of knowing what it could be if I were to win."

Simply put, Ballesteros, with his swashbuckling style and larger than life personality, inspires all Spanish golfers. He played in nine Ryder Cups and won The Open three times in addition to his Masters victories.

Back in 2017, it was much of the same for Garcia, who didn't make the cut this week. Garcia still considered Ballesteros a mentor.

“To do it, for Seve, for Olazábal. my two idols in golf. It’s something amazing," Garcia said to Jim Nantz in Butler Cabin when he won in 2017.

Sergio Garcia celebrates after winning the 2017 Masters

Garcia won the 2017 Masters on Seve's birthday

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Olazábal, now 57, channeled his old friend and partner at the "Miracle at Medinah," when he captained the European Ryder Cup team to a huge comeback victory in 2012, just a little more than a year after Ballesteros' passing. They had images of Ballesteros on their sleeves and bags, and they played in the spirit of Ballesteros of "never giving up."

"Seve will always be present," said Olazábal, who went 13-2 with Ballesteros as his partner in past Ryder Cups, at the time.  "He was a big factor for this event and last night when we were having a meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing."

As for the Spanish success at The Masters, Rahm had another theory as well, in addition to Ballesteros' presence here.

"There's got to be something here about having a Spanish passport," said Rahm, who is now halfway to the majors Grand Slam now that he's added to his U.S. Open win of 2021 at Torrey Pines. "I don't know, there's something about the grounds that transmits into all of us."

Mike Bailey
Contributing writer

Mike has worked in the golf industry for nearly 30 years with full-time staff positions at publications and websites that include PGA Magazine, the Golfweek Group, and GolfChannel.com. He is currently writing for several different sites and magazines and serves as a contributing equipment writer for Golf Monthly, focusing on irons, shoes and the occasional training aid or piece of technical equipment. 

Mike has experienced a number of highlights in his career, including covering several Ryder Cups, PGA Championships and the Masters, writing instruction pieces and documenting the best places for golf travel for more than a decade.

Mike carries a 7.6 handicap index and has two hole-in-ones, the most recent coming in February 2022. A resident of Texas for more than 40 years, Mike plays out of Memorial Park Golf Course (home of the Houston Open on the PGA Tour).