Seve Ballesteros celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 113th Open Championship on 22nd July 1984 at St Andrews.
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Seve Ballesteros celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 113th Open Championship on 22nd July 1984 at St Andrews.

Story highlights

Ramon Sota has passed away at the age of 74

One of the first Spanish players to taste success on the tour

Retired in 1972 before coaching his nephew Seve Ballesteros to five major titles

Tributes to Sota flood in from the golfing community

CNN —  

The man who paved the way for Seve Ballesteros to become one of the greatest golfers in history, Ramon Sota, has died at the age of 74.

Sota was not just the uncle and mentor of Ballesteros but a pioneer of the Spanish game during the 1960s and 1970s.

Born on April 23, 1938, in Pedrena, Sota was one of the first Spanish golfers to compete on the tour alongside the Miguel brothers, Angel and Sebastian.

At the age of just 18, Sota won the first of his four Spanish championships before going on to win several other tournaments.

Sota triumphed at the Open de France in 1965, the Dutch Open in 1966 and 1971, the Open de Portugal in 1963, 1969 and 1970, the Italian Open in 1971 and the Spanish Open in 1963.

He also won the Brazilian Open in 1965, while finishing sixth at the Masters at Augusta in the same year, which was the best result by a European player at the time.

After retiring in 1972, Sota helped coach Ballesteros to land five major victories during an illustrious career.

Ballesteros, who died at the age of 54 in May 2011, was the first European to win the U.S. Masters when he picked up the first of his two Green Jackets in 1980.

He also won three British Open titles under the guidance of Sota.

Javier Ballesteros takes first steps to emulating legendary dad Seve

Tributes poured in for Sota on Twitter with Spanish golfer Pablo Larrazabal leading the way.

Larrazabal tweeted: “Ramon Sota won the French Open in 1965, 43 years before I did… Good memories from those afternoons seating at the putting green in Pedreña listening many of those historys… Ramon Sota, thanks for all.”

There was also a tribute from the Royal Spanish Golf Federation on their official website.

“The members of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation would like to express their deepest condolences to family and friends,” the federation said in a statement.

Sota’s son Jose Antonio says his father’s philosophy was “work, fight, recovery” and “he had a competitive spirit and knew how to recover from a bad day”.