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The legendary Ballesteros-Olazabal pairing got its start at the 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
The legendary Ballesteros-Olazabal pairing got its start at the 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

Olazabal devastated by Seve's news

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No one is more linked to Seve Ballesteros than Jose Maria Olazabal, his longtime protege and Ryder Cup partner. Olazabal was shocked at Ballesteros' announcement, but quickly remembered the good times they shared on the golf course. 

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (PA) -- Jose Maria Olazabal, the longtime friend and frequent Ryder Cup partner of Seve Ballesteros, is "devastated" by Ballesteros' sudden announcement of his retirement from competitive golf on Monday.

Olazabal, who will decide on Tuesday whether he has made enough of a recovery from a knee injury to play in the Open Championship this week, had no idea the announcement was coming. And that despite the two of them talking last Thursday.

"It a very special day," said Olazabal, who with Ballesteros won 11, halved two and lost only two matches against the Americans, "because what Seve means for golf, in Europe mainly, nobody from a later generation will understand.

"He has been a real inspiration for me, the best friend I've had in my career," he added. "He was really the master."

Ballesteros had a will to win and a determination that has never been matched, Olazabal said, adding that there were times "when you just had to wonder what he was made of."

As a prime example, Olazabal recalled his first partnership with Ballesteros at the 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village, the first time the European ever won the Cup on American soil.

"I remember one hole that year. We were in trouble and the Americans were down the fairway," he said. "I was thinking of trying what would have been a miraculous recovery from the trees with a 4-iron, but Seve said, 'No need, just chip it out and leave me 90 meters to the flag.'

"As we were waiting for them to hit, he whispered to me, 'We might still win this hole.' I thought he was bloody mad -- they had only about a 9-iron to the green. I thought a half would be fantastic for us.

"They hit and before the ball even lands Seve says, 'You see, I think I am going to be right,'" Olazabal added. "They kick into water, Seve hits to four feet and we win the hole. It was unbelievable."

The last time they played together in the Ryder Cup was at The Belfry in 1993 and, fittingly, they ended with a win.

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