Seve silhouette emblazoned on European Ryder Cup bags as captain Olazabal says: He'll be with us every step of the way
15:56 GMT, 25 September 2012
Justin Rose has revealed what having an image of Seve Ballesteros on the bag will mean for Europe's players – and himself in particular – at this week's Ryder Cup in Chicago.
Captain Jose Maria Olazabal would not yet confirm that his team plan to wear the navy jumper, trousers and white shirt so associated with Ballesteros in Sunday's singles, but an iconic silhouette of the five-time major winner is on their golf bags at Medinah.
The image recreates Ballesteros's most famous pose, a clenched-fist salute to the crowd after holing the winning putt in the 1984 Open Championship at St Andrews.
Inspiration: An image of Seve Ballesteros has been printed on all the European team's bags, including captain Jose Maria Olazabal's (left), based on his iconic pose after winning The Open at St Andrew's in 1984 (right)
Ballesteros himself used the symbol for his own company and had it tattooed on his left arm, while many players thought it should become the logo of the European Tour after his death in May last year following a long battle with cancer.
Ballesteros captained Europe to victory in his native Spain in 1997 after playing in the biennial contest eight times, famously forming a formidable partnership with Olazabal.
Talking tactics: Justin Rose chats to Europe vice-captain Darren Clarke on the first green
And Rose, who won three of his four matches on his sole previous appearance in the defeat at Valhalla in 2008, has plenty of fond memories of Ballesteros to draw upon this week.
'I did get to know Seve well,' Rose told a press conference ahead of Tuesday's practice rounds. 'He was one of the few guys when I was struggling on tour when I first turned pro [Rose missed 21 cuts in succession] to put his arm around me in a sense, more metaphorically, but just to give me some words of encouragement.
'I remember my first Masters, actually, he just said well done because my first Masters was a breakthrough for me. I had turned pro and gone through some struggles and then having achieved some success to get there. He was just really nice and complimentary.
'There's some video footage somewhere of me chatting to him and my mum meeting him and you can see my mum blushing and stuff.
'Seve was definitely a special character. And one of my favourite memories is winning my first tournament (in America) at the Memorial Tournament, and Seve was the guy being honoured that year.
'A couple of times during that win I had some tough short-game shots and Seve sprang to mind and I was trying to picture how Seve would have tried to play the shot.
'He was definitely with me that week and one of my greatest keepsakes is the book from the Memorial that Jack (Nicklaus) had signed to me, and Seve has also signed to me because I relayed the story to Seve about how I thought of him and he wrote back and I got him to sign my book. That's something that I will cherish forever.'
In the swing: Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round at Medinah
Green fingers: Spaniard Sergio Garcia practices his putting on Tuesday morning in Chicago
Bunkered: Graeme McDowell hits from the sand on the second hole in practice at Medinah Country Club
Speaking about the image of Ballesteros on the players' bags, Olazabal said: 'We felt that this was one way that Seve could be with us every step of the way. This is the first match since he sadly passed away and a fitting tribute to a true champion and a great friend.
'Seve was an important part of the Ryder Cup because of the way he played and conducted himself from his opening match in 1979. This is the first time since then that he has not been present in anyway, because in 2010 he was able to talk to everyone via the telephone.
Acting up: Ian Poulter puffs his chest out in front of the American fans while walking off the tee box
Luke's good: Englishman Donald hits his tee shot on the second hole during a practice round
All smiles: World No 4 Lee Westwood looked relaxed as he headed out onto the course for practice
'Seve set a wonderful example to generations of golfers and for me there are many, many memories particularly involving the Ryder Cup. Now the best tribute we can pay to Seve is to go on playing for him and his image will certainly ensure he is alongside us throughout the week.'
The European team weren't the only ones to unveil some inspirational gear on Tuesday. Masters champion Bubba Watson's caddie was spotted sporting some rather patriotic trainers during the practice round at Medinah (and Bubba looked like he approved of the choice!)
Patriot: Bubba's caddie, Ted Scott, shows off his snazzy trainers and Watson approves (below)