Friday, 4 January 2013

Jaime Ortiz-Patiño's last round

SAN ROQUE / Sotogrande One of the country's most effective promoters of golf, Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, died yesterday at a Torremolinos hospital. Aged 82, Don Jaime (as his many employees in Sotogrande referred to him), succumbed to an illness he had been fighting for some time. Ortiz-Patiño, born in Paris in 1930, was instrumental in the upward swing of golf tourism in Spain, which began after he brought the Ryder Cup to Sotogrande in 1997, the first time the bi-annual event between Europe and the USA took place on the Continent. The course he created and developed, Valderrama, has long been called the best on the Continent, and, aside from that hallmark Ryder Cup, it hosted 12 editions of the annual Volvo Masters tournament, as well as other major events including two World Championships. The great-grandson of Bolivian tin magnate Antenor Patiño, when he was 55 he bought a 50% interest in the old Las Aves golf course in Sotogrande and transformed it into Valderrama, which became one the world's best courses after he bought out out the other half, and with the help of course designer Robert Trent Jones and the enthusiasm and hard work of many people in the Guadiaro area. The Mayor of San Roque, Juan Xarlos Ruiz Boix has declared three days of official mourning.

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