Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, the leading light in what was the first Ryder Cup match to be played in Continental Europe at Valderrama in 1997, and an incredible contributor to the game in Europe, has passed away, aged 82.
Jaime, also known affectionately as ‘Jimmy’, played an incredible part within the growth of European golf in the last 40 or so years by driving the expansion of the game throughout Spain, specifically through the influence of the Ryder Cup matches and his long-term support of various top level European Tour events.
His tireless efforts and incredible dedication to the game, and the professional golfer within it, saw him become President of the PGAs of Europe in 2001/2002 succeeding John Jacobs in the position and preceding Sir Michael Bonallack, cementing his place amongst the golfing greats of Europe.
Ortiz-Patiño was also awarded the PGAs of Europe Christer Lindberg Bowl back in 2006 to formally acknowledge and award his outstanding contribution to European Golf.
Patiño greatly contributed to the PGAs of Europe and the then General Secretary, Lawrie Thornton, spoke fondly of him: “To have him as PGAs of Europe President ‘sandwiched’ between John Jacobs and Sir Michael Bonallack says everything about Jimmy’s standing in the world of golf. In those two years we enjoyed so many very special occasions in his company, and with his help, support and advice, were able to progress the fledgling PGAs of Europe to the point where it was able to take its place at the peak of the games’ administration.”
Chief Executive of the PGAs of Europe, Ian Randell, said: “Jimmy was an inspiration to us all – he showed that European golf had it’s place on the global golfing map and the courses, infrastructures, and destinations were there to match the likes of the best in the world.
“He played a significant part in boosting the game in Spain, as well as influencing the biggest move seen in the Ryder Cup since it’s expansion to include Europe, by providing a world-class venue for that first match on Continental Europe’s soil. The game owes him a great deal for and he will be sorely missed by European golf.”
Born to Bolivian parents in Paris in 1930, Ortiz-Patiño found his passion for the game after a series of events beginning in Italy when caddying for Dai Rees and receiving Ryder Cup tickets for the following year’s match in Lindrick, UK, in 1957.
It was that connection which lead him many years later to create a vision for what would become Valderrama – increasing participation and busy courses led him and a group of associates to buy out the Los Aves course, which was subsequently remodelled by original designer Robert Trent Jones Snr, becoming Valderrama as we know it today.
Having created a masterpiece of the highest quality, it was not long before the course was hosting tournaments including 16 Volvo Masters, two World Golf Championship events and the Andalucía Masters. But it was likely the Ryder Cup match’s move to Valderrama in 1997 that will ensure it remains in the history books as Ortiz-Patiño’s crowning glory.