by Jeff Skinner
As the world’s best tee off today at the Masters many familiar profiles will be walking the hills of Augusta National. If you are a real golf fan you can spot your guy from two fairways away. When you’re standing a hundred yards away it’s fairly easy to pick out many of the golfers just by seeing their walk, their profile or how they stand there waiting for the next shot. Tiger has that wide shouldered strut. Phil has a familiar lumber down the fairway. Freddy Couples almost floats from tee to green. If you watch the tour regularly you can pick out dozens of golfers without a second look. One of the most distinctive profiles on Augusta this week is that of The Coolest Guy in Golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Miguel is an easy spot at the Masters. He has that trademark ponytail and he will never be confused with Charles Howell III. He has the most distinctive of struts. He walks the course like he owns it, or at least is interested in buying it. Miguel is as cool as he looks and we’re hoping he’s close to the lead on Sunday. He has had three top ten finishes at Augusta with a tie for eighth last year. It would be great to see him strutting up to eighteen late on Sunday afternoon with a chance at the win.
Miguel was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Here are some quick hits with the Coolest Guy in Golf.
LLG: Do you think the Open Championship is your best chance for a major victory?
Miguel:I would be absolutely delighted with any victory in a Major, and The Open Championship would be special, particularly with its great history. Actually I have pretty good record over the years round Augusta at The Masters so who knows, maybe that could be the one?
LLG: What is your best Ryder Cup memory?
MAJ: Well I guess I have to say being a part of the winning European Team in 2004 at Oakland Hills, and by such a great margin. It was special.
LLG: Do your sons play golf?
MAJ: Yes, both my sons play golf but they have lots of other interests too. My eldest who is 13, was lucky enough to play in the Juniors Open Championship last July, the same week as The Open Championship. It was a great experience for him which he loved. I would love to see them beat me one day ….. but not too soon hopefully !
LLG: Would you encourage them to be tour players?
MAJ: If either of the boys became good enough to be Tour players I would encourage them of course, as professional golf has given me a great life, but honestly I would support them in any career they wanted to follow and it is up to them to make their own decision on what that might be.
LLG: What do you do to keep your game in shape?
MAJ: I have never made any big changes in any aspect of my game, so I don’t try to over-complicate things. I don’t have a coach out on Tour with me but if I have any concerns I can always consult my brother, Juan, a Club Teaching Professional, when I am home in Spain. Of course I do practice when I have a week off, but probably not as much as the younger guys do.
LLG: When you came on tour in the 80’s did any tour player help you get adjusted to the tour?
MAJ: I have been very lucky in the 20 years or so I have been on Tour, that there has always been a strong contingent of Spanish players and when I started back in the 80’s many of those had been on Tour for some time and so I quickly learned about life on the road. It’s still the same now for the young Spanish players starting their careers on the European Tour ….. except now I am the elder statesman!
LLG: Who do you spend time with while you are on tour?
MAJ: I have many friends on Tour from many different countries, but generally the Spanish players tend to have a practice round together or go out to dinner in the evening together, perhaps because we tend to eat much later than most of the other nationalities.
LLG: Who were your heroes growing up?
MAJ: My heroes were always the great sportsmen such as Jack Nicklaus and of course the Spanish cyclists. In fact I still have tremendous respect for all those guys, their determination, drive and physical fitness is unbelievable.