The European Tour welcomed six new Honorary Life Vice Presidents in 2010, with Gaston Barras, Claude-Roger Cartier, Masato and Akito Mizuno, Don Jaime Ortiz-Patiño and Johann Rupert accepting awards for their colossal contribution to the Tour over the past quarter of a century. It brings to a total of 15, the number of people who have been given the accolade over the years.
Gaston Barras, the irrepressible driving force behind the Omega European Masters, has been a member of the golf club committee at Crans-sur-Sierre since 1954, and has been President of the club since 1981. He has also been President of the Organising Committee of the European Masters since 1964 and a committee member of the Swiss Golf Association from 1969 to 1997, serving as President for the last six years of his tenure.
Claude-Roger Cartier, Honorary President of the Federation Française de Golf, has played a key role in the development of golf across Europe. When John Jacobs was appointed the first Tournament Director-General of the Professional Golfers’ Association, tasked with uniting Great Britain and Ireland with the continent of Europe, Cartier’s support was vital and unstinting in immediately seeing and believing in the vision of ‘One Europe’ for the professional circuit, which would later become The European Tour.
Masato Mizuno, Chairman of the Mizuno Corporation, and Akito Mizuno, President of the Mizuno Corporation, accepted their awards during The Open Championship at St Andrews in recognition of The European Tour’s longest running agreement with the world renowned golf club manufacturer. The Mizuno workshop has become a familiar sight on the driving ranges of The European Tour for the past 27 years and featured at 25 tournaments in 11 countries on The 2010 Race to Dubai. The Mizuno team of expert technicians continue to provide a service of club repair and adjustment to all players, irrespective of which brand of club they play.
Don Jaime Ortiz-Patiño is the Bolivian-born owner of one of The European Tour’s most iconic venues – the magnificent Valderrama on Spain’s southern coast. It was Patiño’s vision that saw The Ryder Cup being played on European soil for the first time in 1997, when Seve Ballesteros’s European Team sealed a dramatic 14½ - 13½ over the USA to retain Samuel Ryder’s famous trophy. That historic week was the culmination of a journey that began in 1956 and saw Patiño build one of the best courses in the world that would stage one of The European Tour’s most prestigious events, the season-ending Volvo Masters from 1988-1996, and from 2002-2008.
Johann Rupert, Chairman of the Swiss-based luxury goods company Richemont, is one of the Tour’s most valued sponsors with an association spanning 25 years 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.