Officials from the European Tour found themselves in the extraordinary position yesterday of investigating an incident at an event that was not for professionals and by a player who has not played a tournament all year. Sadly, the alleged perpetrator is all too well known to the authorities.
Seve Ballesteros, who has had a miserable time being unable to play this season due to his back problems, was attending a Spanish amateur tournament at his home club of Pedrena when he was involved in an altercation with one of the players, Jose Maria Zamora.
Zamora's day job is as a tournament director for the European Tour and he was involved in one of two instances last year when Ballesteros was penalised for slow play. Following the first of them, in Madeira in March, Ballesteros and Zamora ended up having a furious row in the car park.
Following the second in Italy in May, when Ballesteros spoke of the "PGA mafia", the former Open and Masters champion was fined and severely reprimanded by the tournament committee.
Zamora has reported the incident at Pedrena to his superior, David Garland, the director of tour operations, but has decided not to talk about it publicly. Under the European Tour's code of conduct, players are expected to uphold "honesty, fair dealings, courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, whether on or off the golf course".
Ballesteros was on business in Santander yesterday. His nephew, Ivan Ballesteros, of the family's Amen Corner company, said: "I'm pretty sure he has nothing to say about this. It's something that happened and I don't think people should make a big deal of it."
The matter should not overshadow the season's finale here, the Volvo Masters, which despite missing the defending champion, Fredrik Jacobson, and Ernie Els, who is already assured of winning the order of merit, features all 12 of the victorious European Ryder Cup team.
Colin Montgomerie is the only one of the 54 players to have won on the course. Luke Donald is making his competitive debut here, although he gained experience of the course while attending training sessions with the England amateur team in the mid-Nineties. Padraig Harrington, who won the German Masters after having laser surgery on one of his eyes, tees up having just had the other one done.
- More about:
- Seve Ballesteros