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With time on his hands before the Masters, Rory could do worse than study Seve's approach

Dermot Gilleece


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Seve Ballesteros: ‘When I saw it, Augusta gave me a very familiar feeling. These were my trees, my colour of green’

Seve Ballesteros: ‘When I saw it, Augusta gave me a very familiar feeling. These were my trees, my colour of green’

Augusta National/Getty Images

Seve Ballesteros: ‘When I saw it, Augusta gave me a very familiar feeling. These were my trees, my colour of green’

With more time than he could ever have anticipated prior to his 12th US Masters, Rory McIlroy could do worse than study the approach of Seve Balleteros towards becoming its first European winner.

Forty years ago this week, golf's beloved conquistador arrived early at Augusta National, convinced he would don the coveted green jacket.

It is also fascinating to think that had Ballesteros not been gravely ill with a brain tumour when McIlroy endured a dramatic last-nine collapse in 2011, he could have told the young Irishman about travelling a similar road. Except that he managed to halt the makings of a ruinous last-nine collapse in 1980 with time to spare.