Renowned golfers Bridget Jackson MBE, Hon D.Sc. (Birmingham) and José María Olazábal have accepted invitations to become Honorary Members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
During a notable amateur career, Jackson played in the Curtis Cup for Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions and was selected as an England international nine times. She has served as Chair and President of the English Ladies Golf Association and President of the Ladies’ Golf Union. She was made a MBE in 2003 for her services to women’s golf.
Olazábal is one of the world’s most successful and popular golfers, winning 30 professional tournaments during his career, including the Masters in 1994 and 1999. He was admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.
Bridget Jackson MBE, Hon D.Sc. (Birmingham), said, “I am delighted to accept this invitation to become an Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. I have been fortunate to be involved in golf throughout my life and have always enjoyed being able to give something back to the game. I look forward to representing the club and playing my part in continuing its great tradition of supporting golf.”
José María Olazábal, said, “I am thrilled and extremely proud to become an Honorary Member of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
“Winning The R&A’s amateur championships and the Silver Medal in The Open were huge achievements for me and gave me a tremendous boost in the early stages of my career. It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of so many of golf’s great champions in becoming part of the Club’s celebrated history.”
Keith Macintosh, Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, said, “I am very pleased to welcome Bridget Jackson and José María Olazábal as Honorary Members of the Club.
“Bridget has graced the game for many years as a fine amateur golfer and exceptional administrator, while José María is one of golf’s outstanding champions and has achieved notable success throughout his career as a player and as Ryder Cup captain. Both of them thoroughly deserve this recognition.”
Born in Birmingham, England in 1936, Jackson won the Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship in 1954 and two years later triumphed in the English Ladies Closed Championship and German Ladies Championship. She won the Canadian Ladies Championship in 1967.
Initially included as a reserve in the GB&I team for the 1958 Curtis Cup against the United States, the withdrawal of Philomena Garvey led to Jackson playing in the match for the first time, which was tied 4½ – 4½, at Brae Burn. Jackson would also play for GB&I in the Curtis Cup in 1964 and 1968, and the Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe on four occasions. In 1973 and 1975, she was the non-playing captain of winning GB&I teams in the Vagliano Trophy.
In 1964, Jackson was selected as playing captain by England to play in the first ever Espirito Santo Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships, winning a bronze medal. She also won the Home Internationals with England on six occasions.
Following a successful playing career, Jackson became a talented golf administrator and was chair of the English Ladies Golf Association from 1971-72 and President from 1993-95. She became President of the Ladies’ Golf Union in 1998 and subsequently an Honorary Vice-President. She has also been President of Handsworth Golf Club and Royal St David’s Golf Club.
Born in Fuenterrabia, Spain in 1966, Olazábal made an early impression as an amateur golfer, winning the Italian Open Amateur Championship, Spanish Open Amateur Championship and Boys Amateur Championship at Glenbervie in 1983. The following season, aged 18, the Spaniard defeated Colin Montgomerie 5&4 in the 36-hole final of The Amateur Championship at Formby and successfully defended the Spanish Amateur title. A year later he won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur in The Open at Royal St George’s and the British Youths Open Amateur Championship at Ganton. That makes Olazábal the only amateur golfer to have won all of the R&A medals for which he was eligible to compete.
Olazábal also represented the Continent of Europe in both the St Andrews Trophy (1984) and Jacques Leglise Trophy (1981, 82, 83) international matches against Great Britain and Ireland.
Joining the professional ranks in 1986, he finished second behind close friend Severiano Ballesteros in the European Tour Order of Merit, and repeated the feat three years later. He went on to win 23 tournaments on the European Tour. He would also win on the PGA Tour six times and twice on the Japan Golf Tour.
Olazábal secured his first Major Championship in 1994 after winning the Masters with a nine-under-par total, two strokes ahead of American Tom Lehman. In doing so, he became the only winner of The Amateur Championship in the post-war era to win a Major Championship, a record that still stands. Five years later, he won his second Masters title.
Between 1987 and 2006, Olazábal made seven appearances for Europe in the Ryder Cup, winning on three occasions. He went on to captain Europe in the ‘Miracle of Medinah’ match in 2012 when the team, facing a 10 – 6 deficit on the final day, rallied in the singles matches to win 14½ – 13½ against the United States.