Euro team calls Seve Ballesteros
NEWPORT, Wales -- In an attempt to infuse his team with what he termed more "passion," European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie arranged a phone call between his players and Seve Ballesteros Tuesday evening.
"I think it was only right to get Seve on the phone," Montgomerie said. "Seve is our Ryder Cup and always will be. It's always nice to not ever feel that Seve is forgotten by us or by European golf in any way, shape or form."
Seve is our Ryder Cup and always will be. It's always nice to not ever feel that Seve is forgotten by us or by European golf in any way, shape or form.” -- Colin Montgomerie
An eight-time team member, Ballesteros is currently suffering from brain cancer and will not be able to travel from his home in Spain to the festivities at Celtic Manor this week. He compiled a 20-12-5 lifetime record in the event and captained the team to a victory at Valderrama in 1997.
"It was just a very passionate speech that he used to give to the team 13 years ago when he was captain of that team in 1997," Montgomerie said. "He was extremely open about our chances and about the team that has been selected and the team that had qualified. We were just honored to have him, have his presence in the room."
Montgomerie disclosed that the phone call, which was set up by assistant captain Paul McGinley, who speaks frequently with Ballesteros, lasted about 10 minutes and that each of the dozen players was able to speak with him.
"It was a great idea," he said. "It definitely bonds a team, if it needed bonding, together, very close, when Seve -- our legend, if you like -- speaks to us within that context."
Ballesteros, 53, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October 2008, when he was pronounced "gravely ill" at a Madrid-based hospital. He has since undergone multiple surgeries and is reportedly in improving condition, though he has subsequently resisted most public appearances.
In July, it was rumored that Ballesteros would attend the Open Championship, where all living champions were to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the event, but his trip was canceled on doctors' orders.
Europe wasn't the only team to employ a motivational speaker Tuesday. U.S. captain Corey Pavin scheduled Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and a PGA professional, to speak with his team.
"It wasn't so much a motivational speech, per se, but maybe a little more awareness of what's happening around the world and what's going on and how, in a military sense, how team unity and accountability to each other is very important," Pavin said. "So I just asked him to stress some points that I've been stressing and just relate it in a different manner. It was a very fun evening, actually. It was quite good."
"[Rooney] said that he wanted to play golf in the Ryder Cup," team member Bubba Watson said, "and we all said we wanted to fly planes."
Jason Sobel covers golf for ESPN.com.
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38TH MATCHES AT CELTIC MANOR
In his career, the Ryder Cup has meant everything to Colin Montgomerie. That's why leading the Europeans to victory Monday as captain stands as a crowning achievement. Bob Harig | Championship CentralDate: Oct. 1-4, 2010
2010 champion: Europe
Course: Celtic Manor Twenty Ten Course
Where: Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
Rosters: United States | Europe