Thirty years ago this weekend Seve executed a miracle Swiss shot

Bernie McGuire

Seve Ballesteros contemplates his miracle shot on the 18th hole (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

It’s 30-years ago this weekend Seve Ballesteros pulled off one of the greatest shots ever seen in professional golf.

It was Sunday 2nd September, 1993 and the final day of the Omega European Masters on the alpine Crans-sur-Sierre course at Crans Montana in Switzerland.

Seve, aged 36 years, was a six-time major winner and had won 47 of what will be 50 European Tour events in his career.


He steps up to the final tee on this Sunday in Switzerland but plays a wild drive well left and with his tee shot bouncing off an eight-foot high concrete wall of an adjoining swimming ball and coming to rest among trees.

Seve’s got no shot and with those present no doubt believing he may have to take a penalty shot but whatever his quest to win a fourth Omega European Masters and deny England’s Barry Lane looked only.

No, you don’t know Seve!

Seve’s caddie, Billy Foster, recalled: “I get down there first, there’s obviously no shot, so he comes down, and I said, ‘Seve, chip it out sidewards, chip it on the green, We can still make par and win the tournament.’ ”

No, Seve was not going to chip it out sideways.  That’s not how Seve plays golf as he felt he could send his ball through a very small gap  high in the trees,

After a lengthy discussion with Foster, who had been pleading with Seve not to play the shot, Seve played a sand-wedge and fired the ball almost vertically up over the wall, but beneath the tree limbs.


Golf photographer Dave Cannon looks back at Seve Ballesteros’ miracle shot at the European Masters? in 1993

Three times, Foster pleaded with Seve not to take the shot on. Do not try to massage your golf ball through a gap the size of a “dinner plate,” Foster told his employer.  Take the safe shot, and you could still win, the caddie reasoned. ‘You are not a magician’, the caddie begged.

“‘Why? Why I listen to you? Why you put doubt in my mind? You are the caddy. Carry the clubs. I’m the player,’” Ballesteros said to Foster. “‘Now give me a yardage and then piss off.’”

Foster admits that he guessed at the yardage, telling Seve it was 130 yards. “The imagination to play that shot shot was incredible”, Foster said, “and it just goes to show if I had given the right yardage, he’d have probably knocked it on the green.”

Incredibly, the ball reached the edge of the green and, even more amazingly, Seve then chipped-in over a greenside bunker for the birdie he was looking for.


Described by Foster as “the best shot I’ve ever seen”, Seve was later asked why he went for such a risky shot, to which he replied, simply: “I just like to keep going forward.”

“I had to get down on my hands and knees and bow to him,” Foster recalled. “Seve Ballestreros, you are God. Seve Ballesteros, you are the best that ever lived.”

As it turned out, the birdie still didn’t prove enough, as Lane triumphed by a stroke, but the shot instantly went down as one of the greatest bits of scrambling ever seen in golf – eternalised in stone now at the very spot where Crans-sur-Sierre witnessed another bit of Ballesteros brilliance.

While the golf world lost Seve a few years back and Foster has returned to Switzerland this week and where he is caddyig for Matthew Fitzpatrick who takes a two-shot lead into the last day and, if successful, last year’s US Open champ will join Seve as a three-time Omega European Masters winner.

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