Miguel Angel Jimenez wins home Spanish Open for first time
Becomes first man over the age of 50 to win on the European Tour
Jimenez broke his leg in 2012 and spent the first few months of 2013 in rehabilitation
He says: "There's no words to describe what it means to me"
Miguel Angel Jimenez boasts arguably the most eye-catching warmup routine in golf: arms outstretched with a club above his head, squatting, usually with a cigar protruding from his mouth.
Known as “The Mechanic,” his routine is clearly not in need of fixing – on Sunday the Spaniard became the first man over the age of 50 to win on the European Tour.
His first victory at his home tournament, the Spanish Open, came at his 27th attempt following a three-way playoff against Australian Richard Green and Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
While many of his peers are constantly pounding around in the gyms getting ready for the major tournaments, Jimenez’s approach is more alternative.
“I love to ski (he broke his leg doing so in 2012), I love to drink, I love to smoke, I love to compete and I love to have time with my friends,” he said. “I don’t want to stop any of those things. I’m sorry but I’m honest.
“I do what I like in my life and I’m not going to change that. If a major is coming then it will be ‘wow’ but, if the major is not coming, I’m still going to do what I like with my life.”
It is an approach that has brought out the best in him in his advancing years in the sport. Of his 21 career wins on the European Tour, two-thirds of them have come in the last 10 years.
The latest one, which he clinched on the first playoff hole, eclipsed his previous record for the oldest winner on the European Tour at December’s Hong Kong Open, which came less than a month before his 50th birthday.
Now into his sixth decade, he is targeting yet more records. The first is to become the oldest European Ryder Cup player in September’s clash with the U.S. – which would beat a milestone set back in 1927 by Ted Ray, who was 50 years, two months and five days old when he captained Great Britain in the inaugural event.
Also, should Jimenez win a major title – he came close with his fourth place at last month’s Masters – he would beat the record of Julius Boros, winner of the 1968 U.S. PGA Championship aged 48.
“I would love to make the Ryder Cup team,” admitted Jimenez, who is now sixth in the European points list as he seeks to reclaim his place, having been a non-playing vice-captain for 2012’s “Miracle at Medinah.”
“I would break all the records at 50.”
As for this weekend’s victory, he added: “There’s no words to describe what it means to me. You need to be into my skin but I’m not going to let you. It’s amazing.
“All the victories are special, all are unique, some of them give you more money, some less, but all of them are important. You play to win and when you make it you have to appreciate it.”
Jimenez has no plans yet to become a fulltime member of the seniors’ circuit, though he won his debut event on the U.S. Champions Tour last month and has said he is likely to line up at July’s Senior British Open at Royal Porthcawl a week after the third regular major of the season at Hoylake.
“I love to compete,” he said. “It’s the only think I know how to do properly in my life.”