The Professional Golfers’ Association tour has a lot of young guns with beautiful swings and tapered physiques, but many of them are about as dry as the rules of the game.
Yes, there are some exceptions, like Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who has an engaging style, which includes a brogue and a swagger.
But there’s a guy on the European Tour — sometimes plays in the U.S. — whom you should know about, if you already don’t.
His name is Miguel Angel Jimenez — a 48-year-old Spaniard who has a style all his own.
Yesterday, Jimenez became the oldest winner on the European Tour when he shot a 5-under-par 65 to win the Hong Kong Open — the third time he has won the tournament, and his 19th career victory.
The Associated Press reported that Jimenez celebrated his success as he usually does — with a cigar and a glass of Rioja, a wine made from grapes grown primarily in the La Rioja area of Spain.
He attributed his victory to the “olive oil in my joints,” drinking Rioja and his stretching routine. Yes, stretching. Not weight-lifting, not jogging, not doing push-ups, just stretching.
“That’s the main thing to do to keep the body to compete with the new guns,” he said.
Now, that’s a regimen I can identify with — stretching and smoking cigars. Actually, I take his fitness program to another level: I walk the dog…almost daily.
Jimenez likes his cigars so much that he has a cigar holder that keeps his cigars off the ground when he’s hitting golf balls on the range. Fittingly, it’s called a Hole-in-One Cigar Holder. (Personally, I don’t smoke cigars when I play golf. I have enough trouble keeping track of the ball and worrying about my next shot. And, of course, I don’t practice much, either.)
Here’s another thing about the easy-going Jimenez…He hit the most remarkable shot I’ve ever seen — live or on TV — in the 2010 British Open. At the 17th hole, he hit a lousy third shot and ended up in the rough, next to a rock wall that flanked the green. Without enough room to get his club behind the ball to hit it toward the hole, he turned and faced the wall and hit the ball against the wall. The ball caromed off the wall, flying high in the air in the opposite direction and coming down on the green.
Even as the ball was still in the air, Jimenez turned and started walking toward the green, casually watching the ball’s arc. After it landed and the crowd began to roar, he gave a nonchalant wave of acknowledgment, as if it was a shot he had practiced 100 times and fully expected the result.
Just like that shot, Jimenez is one of a kind. Today, I’ll smoke a cigar in his honor…but I’ll use a conventional ashtray.