January 4 2013
Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the founder of Spain's Valderrama Golf Club -- the venue for the first Ryder Cup played in Continental Europe, as well as two World Golf Championships events -- died on Thursday at the age of 82.
"The PGA TOUR was saddened to learn of the passing of Jaime Ortiz-Patino," PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement released Friday. "Jamie was a tremendous advocate for the growth of the game in the Iberian Peninsula and around the world. A great friend of the PGA TOUR, he was a driving force behind the World Golf Championships in the series' infancy, having hosted two events at his Valderrama Golf Club in 1999 and 2000. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends."
Ortiz-Patino was born in Paris to Bolivian parents in 1930. In the 1980s, he created Valderrama with course designer Robert Trent Jones.
Valderrama hosted the European Tour's season-ending event 16 times between 1988-2008. It also hosted the Andalucia Masters in 2010-11.
“This is a very sad day not just for Spain but for the whole of the golfing world," Spain's Sergio Garcia said on Europeantour.com. "Jamie Ortiz-Patino was a great man and the masterpiece he helped create at Valderrama was truly something special.
“For me to win the Andalucia Masters there, and become the first Spanish player to win a European Tour event on his golf course, is a memory that I will treasure for the rest of my life. My thoughts go out to his family at this time.”
In a statement on Valderrama's web site, Ortiz-Patino was remembered for his great legacy and contribution to European golf.
"He worked so hard to bring the Ryder Dup in 1997, the Volvo Masters and the AMEX World Championships to Valderrama," the statement read. "We all know and acknowledge that the Ryder Cup would have never left the British Isles if it hadn't been for his perserverance and vision. Spanish golf must be very thankful for the work and course he dispayed to transform Club de Golf Valederrama into one of the best golf courses in the world."
An influential figure on the European Tour, Ortiz-Patino was made an Honorary Life Vice President in 2010.
“Jaime Ortiz-Patino provided more than a few proud moments in the history of The European Tour and in many ways he changed the face of the game in Europe," European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said.
Ortiz-Patino also was a member of the USGA's Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee from 1992-2002. In 1999, he received the USGA's Piper & Oakley Award, which was established to recognize meritorious service to the USGA Green Section by a volunteer.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America also honored Ortiz-Patino with its Old Tom Morris Award, the organization's most prestigious award.