News & Opinion

Augusta adds new chapter in Spanish

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The two living Spaniards to have won the Masters, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia, have been joined this week by a new Spanish green jacket.

Ana Patricia Botin, a banker whose sister Carmen was married to the late two-time Masters champion Severiano Ballesteros, became the fifth woman invited to join one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.

The daughter of the late Spanish banker Emilio Botin and pianist Paloma O'Shea, Botin, 57, was an economics major at Bryn Mawr College and attended Harvard Business School before taking a job at J.P. Morgan in the U.S. Botin joined the board of directors of Santander Group in 1989 and holds the position of executive chairman.

“The more Spaniards reach these heights, the better, especially in a place as unique and special as Augusta,” said Olazabal, who won Masters titles in 1994 and 1999, joining Ballesteros (1980, ’83) as dual winners. “There are no words to describe what the relationship with Severiano and the Botin family name represent for Spanish golf.”

Botin joins Diana Murphy, who recently ended a two-year term as president of the U.S. Golf Association, Darla Moore, Condoleezza Rice and Ginni Rometty as Augusta National’s female members.

Javier Ballesteros, who followed his late father into professional golf in 2014, called his aunt’s membership “exceptional news.”

“There are very few women members, and the fact that one of them is from Spain is a source of pride,” he said of Botin, an 8-handicapper.

“It is incredible to see another woman invited to be a member, and it shows the positive evolution of Augusta,” said Jon Rahm, 23, who is No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking entering his second Masters and will be among the favorites this week.

Botin’s admission to Augusta National coincides with one of the best eras of Spanish golf. Rahm and compatriots Sergio Garcia, the defending Masters champion and ninth-ranked player in the world, and No. 22 Rafael Cabrera Bello are expected to contend this week.

“It is great that this happens the same year I am a defending champion,” Garcia said, “and I think it is wonderful. I am sure we will enjoy this Masters, especially her.”

Juan Luis Guillen is a Spanish golf, food and travel writer based in the U.S.