"I told him
how it was when I first flew to London from Barcelona to play in 1965 and had
only a return ticket and �75 to keep me going for three months," Gallardo
says. "More than 10 times I slept on a bench in a railway station. I liked
it there because I could buy from this machine cartons of cold milk for a
sixpence. I thought it was fantastic when I could afford to pay �2.50 a week
for an attic room. When I came back to England for my honeymoon, I showed my
wife Josephina this bench at Euston station, and I said, 'That was my bed!' She
think I'm crazy. I tell Seve, 'The more care you take with people, the more you
will win in the end.' "
Gallardo then gave
a lesson to Jose Maria Canizares, who was struggling to find his best game,
before bustling off to the press center to write his daily column for the
El Mundo Deportivo
(The World of Sport). "They take
anything I write, so you know I get big spaces," he said. It was not always
this way, however.
Ballesteros burst upon the world at Royal Birkdale in the 1976 British Open (he
led for three rounds before finishing in a tie for second with Jack Nicklaus,
six shots behind Johnny Miller), British television and the newspapers made him
a hero overnight. He was golf's answer to Bjorn Borg, Spain's new El Cordobes.
Teen-age girls flocked by the thousands to see the handsome teenager who
obviously feared no one.
Seve gave the ball
a tremendous slash with his easy, natural caddie's swing, relying on a magical
short game to conjure his way out of trouble time and again, and always with a
flashing smile. It was a refreshing change from the defensive, conservative
British style, and the swashbuckling Seve was a breath of fresh air to the
media in Britain, which were so thoroughly disappointed in—and ready to
devour—onetime hero Tony Jacklin and clearly unimpressed by the polite,
withdrawn Peter Oosterhuis, whose major virtue appeared to be manufactured
consistency rather than flair. Unaccountably, the Spanish press largely ignored
the heroics of Ballesteros.
The rest of
golfing Europe, however, hailed the young star as a champion-to-be. Golf on the
continent had always been the guarded preserve of the aristocratic and wealthy.
The open championships had previously attracted minuscule galleries notable
only for the cut of their clothes and their bloodlines. Now Ballesteros, this
hero of humble origin, drew a larger following with each successive event. In
the three months following the 1976 British Open, Ballesteros was third in the
Swiss and Scandinavian Opens; won the Dutch by eight shots; was third in
Germany; placed fifth to Ben Crenshaw in the Irish Open; and finished eighth in
the Benson and Hedges International. He then climaxed his brilliant season by
winning the Lanc�me Trophy in Paris with a blistering finish that overtook
Arnold Palmer by one shot. Following Ballesteros that final day was the biggest
crowd ever to watch golf in France.
become the youngest ever to win the prestigious Vardon Trophy as the top money
winner, and his �39,504 in earnings was a record for Europe, eclipsing by more
than �7,000 the record set by Oosterhuis in 1974.
But the victory
the Spaniards treasure most was that of Ballesteros and the 5'7", 138-pound
Pinero, 24, in the World Cup at Palm Springs, Calif. last December. These two
former caddies beat out the customary favorite, the United States, represented
by U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate and PGA winner Dave Stockton, by two
didn't get much publicity at home at the time, that win did more for Spanish
golf than anything so far," Pinero says. "In our country people are
more interested in how the national teams go, which is why bullfighting is no
longer as popular as soccer. The people were more proud of what Manuel Santana
was doing for Spain in the Davis Cup than when he won at Wimbledon."
There is a
distinct parallel in the growth in popularity of tennis and golf in Spain.
During the oppressively fascist Franco regime, Santana, a former ballboy, had
shown his fellow peasants the way to escape from the poverty bracket to riches
and fame with a tennis racket in his hand. And every single Spanish
professional golfer has emerged in the same way: from the caddie shack.
this is the whole story, says Gallardo. "We all started out genuinely
hungry, truly poor people. There is nothing better to make you try like