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Valderrama icon Jaime Ortiz-Patino, 82, dies

European Tour
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Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the owner and honorary president at Valderrama who played an instrumental role in helping the Spanish course host the 1997 Ryder Cup, died Jan. 3 in a hospital in Marbella, Spain. He was 82.

Born to Bolivian parents in Paris in 1930, Patino - known as 'Jimmy' among friends - was a legendary figure in Spanish golf and became synonymous with Valderrama, his prized venue that went on to host dozens of European Tour events.

'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 his preparation of a golf course,' said George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour. 'Nobody had seen a golf course presented the way Valderrama was. He raised the bar in that respect.'

Maintaining a lifelong interest in course maintenance, Patino received the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's Old Tom Morris Award in 1999, the industry's highest honor. He was also named an honorary life vice president by the European Tour in May 2010.

'Valderrama is his masterpiece, his legacy,' noted fellow Spaniard Jose-Maria Olazabal. 'He wanted to make it a very special place, and he did it. He put Valderrama and that part of Andalucia on the map.'

'This is a very sad day, not just for Spain but but for the whole golfing world,' said Sergio Garcia, who won the 2011 Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.

Patino is survived by sons Felipe and Carlos and four grandchildren.