Seve Accepts Honorary Membership in the R&A

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has announced that Severiano Ballesteros has accepted its invitation to become an honorary member.

Ballesteros first caught the attention of the golfing public when, as a 19-year-old, he finished in a tie for second with Jack Nicklaus at the 1976 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He then went on to win five major championships between 1979 and 1988, adding two Green Jackets to his haul of three Claret Jugs.

His three Open Championship victories came in 1979 and 1988 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, and in 1984 at St. Andrews. His legendary fist pump, a reaction to holing the birdie putt on the final hole of the Old Course to claim his second Claret Jug, became famous the world over and is now used as a logo for his group of companies.

"I am greatly honored to accept Honorary Membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews," he said. "I have had, perhaps, the outstanding moment of my career at St. Andrews and the town will always retain a very special place close to my heart. I sincerely hope that I will be able to come back next year and be part of the 150th Anniversary of the Open Championship."

Ballesteros competed for Europe in eight Ryder Cups and captained the European team to victory at Valderrama in 1997. He was also instrumental in creating the biennial Seve Trophy match, now called "the Vivendi Trophy with Severiano Ballesteros," involving teams from Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe. He was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.

Earlier this year, Ballesteros launched the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, an organization that aims to aid cancer research, particularly brain tumors. The foundation also assists young, underprivileged golfers to develop their golfing careers.

Ballesteros joins an illustrious list of honorary members of the club:

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT.
His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG, KCVO, ADC.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent KG, GCMG, GCVO.
The Hon. George Herbert Walker Bush GCB.
Peter Alliss
Tony Jacklin CBE.
John Jacobs OBE.
Kel Nagle
Jack Nicklaus
Arnold Palmer
Gary Player
Peter Thomson CBE, AO.
Lee Trevino
Roberto De Vicenzo
Tom Watson