Johann Rupert has received the accolade of Honorary Life Vice President of The European Tour at this week’s BMW PGA Championship. The South African accepted his award from the Tour’s Chief Executive George O’Grady at Wentworth Club.
Rupert, Chairman of the Swiss-based luxury goods company Richemont and guest speaker at The European Tour’s annual awards dinner on Tuesday, is one of the Tour’s most valued sponsors and his association with the Tour spans over a quarter of a century having brought the Alfred Dunhill Cup to St Andrews in 1985.
His tournament has evolved into the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, a unique event that brings together the world’s best golfers, notable sportsmen and women as well as celebrities from film and television in a festival of golf over the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.
Rupert also serves as the Chairman of the South African PGA Tour, The European Tour’s oldest co-sanctioning partner, and the South African Golf Development Board. He developed the Gary Player-designed Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga, which is consistently rated as one of South Africa’s best golf courses.
In 2007, Rupert was elected into the South African Sports Hall of Fame before being inducted into the South African Golf Hall of Fame last year.
O’Grady commented: “The European Tour is very fortunate that when we go around the world, we find partners who are strong, powerful people who are extremely passionate about golf. In Johann Rupert we have a partner who embodies all of those traits.
“The European Tour is delighted that Johann has accepted the award to become an Honorary Life Vice President of our Tour. It is a fitting award for a man whose contribution to golf is colossal.”
Ernie Els, 25-time European Tour champion and a long-time friend of Rupert, said: “I have known Johann for over 20 years and he is a great man. He works in the highest echelons of the business world and he tells you exactly what is going on, whether you like it not.
“That’s what makes the man so special and that is why it is great news for the Tour that he has accepted their offer to become an Honorary Life Vice President, because if they ever need his advice he will give them an honest appraisal of what needs to be done.
“I am very proud to have Johann as a friend. He is a huge figure in South African golf and there are not many golfers in my country that Johann hasn’t helped over the years. He is one of a kind, a great man.”