Aguilar first non-European named to European Tour players committee

felipe aguilar
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Felipe Aguilar of Chile is among about 40 non-European-born regulars on the European Tour.
By
Bernie McGuire
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | 4:19 p.m.

Felipe Aguilar of Chile will become the first non-European golfer to sit on the European Tour's prestigious Tournament Players Committee in May.

Aguilar was approached by committee Chairman Thomas Bjorn to apply, and his application was backed by two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal.

"It’s a real privilege to become the first non-European to be elected as there are many things I can suggest to help further improve the tour,” Aguilar said at the Hassan II Trophy on Tuesday.

“The European Tour is no longer a Europe-only tour as it’s very much a worldwide tour, and being South American I feel as though I can bring a different perspective to the committee," he added. “So I feel it is a good move to finally have someone on the committee who was born outside Europe.”

The 15-player committee includes Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Richard Finch, Joakim Haeggman, David Howell, Raphael Jacquelin, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson, Barry Lane, Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson.

Before turning pro in 1999, Aguilar enjoyed a superb amateur career in winning three straight Chilean Amateur championships from 1990 and the 1992 South American Amateur title.
 
His first pro title was the 2002 Chilean Open and he has four other victories on the main tour.
 
He’s among about 40 non-European-born players on the tour, including the major-winning South African foursome of Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen.
 
Aguilar said Bjorn asked him to join the committee three years ago, but he was ineligible because he hadn’t been a full member for three years. He completed three years last year, and Bjorn asked him again this year, with Olazabal’s support.
 
“There are two pretty important names who wanted me on the committee,” he said. “I am looking forward to making my debut on the committee.”
 
The first committee meeting will be in Seville during the Spanish Open in May.