Pedrena and the world prepare to bid farewell to beloved Ballesteros

seve ballesteros' wreath
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Residents of Seve Ballesteros' hometown of Pedrena, Spain, offered their respects on Tuesday in advance of Wednesday's funeral.
By
Associated Press and PA Sport

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Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | 7:14 p.m.

Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and top-ranked Lee Westwood are expected to attend Wednesday’s funeral of Seve Ballesteros, who won five majors and transformed the game in Europe.

Sam Torrance and Jose Maria Olazabal also planned to be a part of the service in the small Spanish fishing village where Ballesteros first picked up the 3-iron that would change European golf.

Ballesteros died Saturday in his hometown from complications of a cancerous brain tumor. He was 54.

Wednesday’s service will be held at the 400-capacity church of San Pedro de Pedrena. Ballesteros’ ashes will be placed underneath a magnolia tree in the family garden.

The golfing great first will be honored by several young boys and girls in a procession wearing a replica of the navy blue outfit that Ballesteros wore for his first British Open win in 1979. Fittingly, they will each hold a 3-iron, the first club he used as a child.

"Seve will be cremated at a ceremony that will be as intimate as possible and at a place that nobody will know," his family said. "That was his express wish. His ashes will remain at his estate, at his home in Pedrena."

"The funeral rites will be as simple as those for any neighbor from the village,” said his brother, Baldomero. “He was born here and here he will remain."

Three big screens have been set up outside the ceremony, while Spanish state TV will broadcast the event live from the village of 1,500.

Ballesteros was perhaps Spain’s first major sports star, helping to transform European golf by winning three British Open and two Masters titles plus a record 50 European Tour victories. He was also player-captain of the successful 1997 Ryder Cup team.

“He broke the mold,” former Ryder Cup player Tommy Horton said. “We were told to hit the fairway, not to make mistakes, while Seve taught us about the genius of recovery.

“He was a genius, an artist -- the first true golf artist.”

Many homes in Pedrena brandished Spanish flags with black ribbons attached. A small shrine could be seen outside the family home, where notes, candles, a pair of golf shoes and even a 3-iron were left as tributes.