has announced the sad news that Ramon Sota, the uncle of golfing great Seve Ballesteros and inspirational player of the 1960s and ’70s, has died of pneumonia at the age of 74.
After turning pro at the age of 18 in 1956, Sota won the Spanish Championship four times as well as a number of other tournaments around the world, including the Open de France in 1965, the Dutch Open in 1966 and 1971, the Open de Portugal in 1963, 1969 and 1970, and the Italian Open in 1971.
Sota also finished seventh at the British Open in 1963 and eighth in 1971 and was sixth at the US Masters in 1965, the best result by a European up to that date.
Following his retirement from the game of golf in 1972, Sota went on to coach his nephew Seve Ballesteros to five major victories during an illustrious career.
Ballesteros, who died of a brain tumor 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, CNN notes.
Following news Ramon Sota’s death, the Royal Spanish Golf Federation released the following statement via their official website:
“The members of the Royal Spanish Golf Federation would like to express their deepest condolences to family and friends.”
Spanish pro Pablo Larrazábal also took to the web to offer tribute to Sota, posting the following message via Twitter:
“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.”
Sota is survived by his son, Jose Antonio.