Renowned golf photographer David Cannon talks us through some of his favourite shots of Seve Ballesteros through the years...
8 Incredible Seve Ballesteros Photos… And The Story Behind Them!
Speaking exclusively to Golf Monthly, photographer David Cannon chooses his eight favourite photos of Seve Ballesteros.
Canon released his photographic collection book Seve: His Life Through the Lens to commemorate the Spaniard’s career with the tenth anniversary of his passing.
#8. The Masters, 1989
“I was in my usual studio, behind the second shot into 13 when I saw Seve hit a shot, knowing that there was a chance it had gone into the water, after seeing his body action.
“At Augusta, you’re not allowed to run so I had to Olympic walk across the crossing at 14.
“I got to the back of the stand, absolutely out of breath, sweating like a pig, to see Seve sitting on the bank taking off his shoes and socks.
“If you look at the sequence very closely, Hawkeyes will notice that the ball is just descending at the end of it – it went up, but not forward, sadly.”
#7. Ryder Cup, 1993
“Europe lost that year, and Seve hadn’t been playing very well that year as a whole.
“But he teamed up with Jose Maria Olazabal and they won the two matches on the Friday, and this was the Saturday morning and they won again.
“I just love the picture because the people in the background behold a birdie at that moment, and that was Seve – that was the reaction you always got.”
#6. European Masters, 1993
“The whole story’s pretty amazing, because Seve had just birdied five holes in a row and was within one shot of the lead.
“He stands on the 18th tee, which has a really sloping fairway making it a really tough tee shot.
“Sure enough, his tee shot went off to the right and I thought it was going out of bounds, but it ended up six feet from a concrete wall.
“A lot of people ignored it because they thought he would chip it out – there’s not a TV camera in sight, so there’s no video of this shot.
“The only video is the ball landing just short of the green.
“He gets on his knees, he’s kicking the ground and pointing to a gap as he does.
“His caddy Billy Foster reckoned the gap Seve successfully aimed for was the size of a dinner plate.
“He didn’t win (the tournament), but it’s one of the most incredible golf shots I’ve ever seen.”
#5. World Match Play, 1985
“Seve put it into the bunker on the par three fifth hole, just left of the green.
“Bunker shots are generally ordinary because it’s very difficult nicely framing them with players in the right position.
“This photograph fills the frame nicely, and the background’s lovely.
“I’m always very keen to get backgrounds as much out of focus to really isolate the subject, which I did with Seve in this shot.”
#4. Ryder Cup, 1991
“Seve and Olazabal (Ollie) have the the greatest partnership in Ryder Cup history, and no one will ever get close to what they’ve won.
“12 points out of 15 in all of their matches I think – no one will ever touch that.
“Their chemistry from the word go in ’87 was clear and the 91 picture was so lucky with Ollie jumping on the shoulders of Seve, because the Americans were playing at the same time.
“It was difficult to see what was going on at Kiawah Island with the slopes, so Ollie was trying to get a better view by jumping on Seve.
“They did it once before with the caddy stood right behind them, making the picture a bit messy.
“However, he walked on and the two golfers stayed in the same position and Ollie did the same thing again, allowing me to capture this lovely, clean background.”
#3. Seve at home in Pedrena, 1991
“He was happy for us to come to his home, and after shooting some instruction articles in the morning, we sat with him in the clubhouse at lunchtime, chatting.
“I mentioned I’d love to go and see where he hit balls on the beach as a youngster, and as easy as that he said he’d take us.
“We drove to Somo beach, it was low tide, blowing 30 miles an hour freezing cold winds – it was in the middle of February.
“He comes out of the bushes with a stick and places a napkin he took from the clubhouse on top.
“He said: ‘I learned to putt for Augusta on this green’.
“That day was without a doubt the most memorable of my life in golf photography.”
#2. The Open, 1984
“This was the final putt, which I was lucky to get but you have to be lucky.
“A shot behind going into the 18th, Seve knew he needed a birdie to win following that amazing par on 17.
“The second shot he left 15 feet short of the hole, and it’s amazing how long it took for the putt to roll into the hole.
“All I had was Seve in the camera, I didn’t know if the ball was going in or not.
“The crowd or player’s reaction is the only clue – fortunately Seve’s reaction to the shot was massive.
“The best picture of the sequence, the fist pump, was near the end of the roll (of 36 pictures), so I was lucky I had just enough film left to capture the moment.
#1 The Open, 1988
“I like this one as the golfer, this is a golf picture where a player is at the peak of his swing, with the lighting lovely and the fact he’s on an upslope makes his body go into that wonderful shape.
“I learned that you had to get the eyes in focus to take a really good shot, otherwise the picture doesn’t work.
“Thankfully, golfers in the 80s didn’t really wear hats like nowadays so I was able to focus on his eyes.
“The navy jumper is iconic.
“This is my favourite of all Seve Ballesteros’ photos.”