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updated: 9/25/2012 7:06 PM

European team paying tribute to Ballesteros

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  • Team Europe's Peter Hanson comes to the Ryder Cup fresh from winning the KLM Open, an event he almost withdrew after learning his 1-year-old son was hospitalized at home in Florida.

       Team Europe's Peter Hanson comes to the Ryder Cup fresh from winning the KLM Open, an event he almost withdrew after learning his 1-year-old son was hospitalized at home in Florida.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Associated Press/David J. PhillipTo honor the late Seve Ballesteros, a Ryder Cup legend, captain Jose Maria Olazabal had Seve's image put on every European Team golf bag for this week's Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.

      Associated Press/David J. PhillipTo honor the late Seve Ballesteros, a Ryder Cup legend, captain Jose Maria Olazabal had Seve's image put on every European Team golf bag for this week's Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.

 
 

To say it has been a crazy month for Sweden's Peter Hanson doesn't do justice to the word crazy.

It began at the KLM Open in Holland when Hanson learned his 1-year-old son Tim was hospitalized with a respiratory virus in Florida.

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Hanson was ready to fly home, but his wife convinced him to stay, and as luck would have it, the 34-year-old won the tournament, his first victory in two years.

"It was a very strange week," Hanson recalled Tuesday. "(The illness) just changed my perspective completely. And with the buildup to (the Ryder Cup), it even affected the tournament over there.

"This game is just a strange game. In between shots I was thinking about him all the way around, especially Saturday. It just changed everything and all of a sudden, golf doesn't become that important anymore. So that might be one of the reasons why I won."

Salute to Seve:

A silhouette of the late, great Seve Ballesteros will adorn each of the European player's golf bags this week as a tribute to the man who absolutely adored participating in Ryder Cup matches.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who along with Ballesteros formed one of the most successful pairings in Ryder Cup history, was the force behind the decision.

"Obviously it's tough for me," Olazabal said. "It's the first time Seve is not going to be with us at the Ryder Cup. I missed the phone call that he made to the (Euro) team in 2010 at Celtic Manor.

"He meant a lot to me and the team, and I wanted to have something that was present to each and every player."

U.S. captain Davis Love III this week gave a yardage book to all the European players and caddies that featured a silhouette of Ballesteros.

"We wanted to do something that honored Seve as well," Love said. "It's a huge loss for golf. It's a huge loss for all of us that considered him a friend. And it's such a big part of Josť Maria's life in golf."

Mixing and matching:

With four eager rookies on the roster, the days of veteran U.S. Ryder Cuppers participating in all five matches may be a thing of the past.

"Obviously we have three or four guys that have played a whole bunch of them that might have realized that they don't want to play five matches anymore," U.S. captain Davis Love III said.

"And then you might get guys like Brandt (Snedeker) and (Jason Dufner); guys that are real hot and you say 'we can't ever pull them out,' so they may end up with five."

He said it:

"Neatest gift so far? We got a watch yesterday. That's pretty nice. Got a bottle of champagne, too, so hopefully we'll be using that later in the week."

-- U.S. rookie Jason Dufner on the goodies being handed out to players this week.

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