Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the past owner and honorary president of Valderrama died at the age of 82 on January 3rd. His foresight and absolute dedication to the game of golf went before him. Nobody had ever seen a golf course laid out in the way that Valderrama was. Beautifully designed, it presented the backdrop for many memorable golfing occasions and tournaments.

Known as Jimmy to his many friends, he provided many proud moments in the history of the European tour and indeed, changed the face of the game throughout Europe. So said George O’Grady, the chief executive of the Tour. “His foresight and dedication to the game through the Volvo Masters and of course, the Ryder Cup, was legendary as was his dedication to excellence in terms of the preparation of a golf course. He was also a gentleman and he will be sadly missed.”

In addition to the Ryder Cup, Valderrama hosted the Volvo Masters 16 times between 1988 and 2008 as the season ending tournament. Valderrama also staged the World Golf Championship events in 1999 and 2000 together with the Andalucia Masters in 2010 and 2011.
It was one of Jimmy’s great moments when in 1997 he saw his great friend Seve Ballesteros captain Europe to a dramatic close victory over the Americans to retain the Ryder Cup. This came at the end of a long journey that had commenced 40 years earlier. Incredible years which saw Jimmy mastermind and build one of the top golf courses in the world.

Spanish Golf

It is not well known that his introduction to golf began at the Italian open in 1956 when he offered his services as a caddie to Ryder Cup player Dai Rees who needed a bagman for the final round. As a reward, the professional sent Jimmy tickets for the next Ryder Cup. He travelled to Lindrick in the UK the following year and was smitten by the event. However, it was only in the early 1980s when he was winding down his business career that he took more holidays at his home in Sotogrande and developed his profound interest in golf. And when his plan for Valderrama began in earnest.

Initially, he bought the club with a group of friends so they could have somewhere private to play but it was not long before Jimmy was conceiving the plan that would see the Ryder Cup play in Europe for the first time in its history. He enlisted the great golf architect Robert Trent Jones Sr to match his ambition and sculpture the modern day masterpiece that Valderrama became. If that was not enough, Jimmy travelled to America to study agronomy at the United States Golf Association in order to ensure that he could maintain the course to its incredibly high standard.

The rest is history. The story of a man with vision and a huge personality to match. Many people sadly commented on his passing.
José Maria Olazabal, last year’s winning captain described Valderrama as a masterpiece which was a legacy to Jimmy.

Sergio Garcia said “This is a very sad day not just for Spain but for the whole of the golfing world. Jaime Ortiz-Patino was a great man and the masterpiece he helped create at Valderrama was truly something special.

Miguel Angel Jiminez said “Jimmy had a very clear vision of golf. He transformed Valderrama which he considered as his “third son”. His determination, willpower and perseverance were extraordinary and he achieved all his goals.”

 

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