Greater Things… a Master Class

(Photo: Toni Doro)

Oldest European Tour champion, sublime US Masters performance, sparkling senior tour debut… Miguel Ángel Jiménez, now arguably the third member of a global trio of Málaga favourite sons (together with Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas), just keeps dazzling us. So how does the “world’s most interesting golfer” do it? “If you are 50 it doesn’t mean that you cannot play well. I’m still moving. I’m still flexible.” Cue to… his endearingly particular stretching and warm-up routine, captured for posterity on YouTube.

History made in Hong Kong (Getty Images)

These are the salient facts…

• He was fourth in the 2014 US Masters at 50 years of age (Jimenez became eligible for the “round-belly” ranks on 5 January), the second-best performance by a player in his fifties at Augusta after Sam Snead (joint third in 1963).

• He carded the best round of the tournament, a six-under 66, in the third round to start the final day just two strokes off the lead. It matched the lowest score for a senior golfer at Augusta National: Ben Hogan was 54 when he carded 66 during the third round of the 1967 tournament, and Fred Couples matched it at 50 years during the opening round in 2010.

• One week later he was a winner on his Champions Tour debut, in the Greater Gwinnett Championship, only the third player to achieve that feat leading wire-to-wire (the second was in 1999).

European Masters bliss in 2010 (Getty Images)

• Totalling 14-under over the 54 holes, he carded 15 birdies, one eagle, and just one bogey and one double bogey (on the third and fourth holes, respectively, in the second round): i.e. covering his last 32 holes without recording a single over-par score.

• He became the 18th player in the history of the US seniors tour to win on his first start, a stellar list that includes Arnold Palmer (1980), Gary Player (1985) and Jack Nicklaus (1990).

• He is just the second golfer from Spain to win on the Champions Tour: José María Cañizares took nine play-off holes to secure the 2001 Toshiba Classic title.

• He became the first player to win a European Tour and Champions Tour event in the same season.

• Thirteen of his 20 European Tour victories have come after he turned 40. When Jiménez was victorious in the Hong Kong Open in December 2013, he extended his record (set in the same event the previous year) as the oldest winner on the European Tour.

So where to next? Jiménez has a one-year exemption for the Champions Tour but he is reluctant to make a firm commitment. “To me it’s not about money,” he said after his victory in Georgia. “It’s about some different goals to make me feel proud of myself. To me I would feel nice to play on the Ryder Cup once more.”

If Jiménez does qualify to play in the Ryder Cup on points, or if Paul McGinley makes him a captain’s pick in September, he will become the oldest member of the European side in the history of the event. Ted Ray was 50 years, two months and five days old at the inaugural contest in 1927. The Spaniard has played in the Ryder Cup four times: twice on the winning side and twice among the losers. His record is mediocre (4-8-3) and he is keen to improve it.

Jiménez shot a blemish-free opening 65 (seven-under) to lead by three strokes on his Champions Tour debut. “Very good start,” he said later. “Now it’s time for a nice, warm shower, a nice fat cigar and a glass of Rioja… I’m desperate to find one of my cigars and have a glass of wine.” Bernhard Langer had set the previous tournament record with a 66 while winning the 2013 inaugural championship.

Player of the Month” after Hong Kong Open victory (Photo: Getty Images)

Also sharing second place was 2013 player of the year Kenny Perry, who – when asked about Jiménez at the post-round press conference – said, “”He’s amazing. He’s fun to watch. He’s a great player.”

“We need guys like that out here. I mean, he’s a huge fan favourite. He brings a lot of flair and class to golf and he just has a good time.”

During the conference, Perry noticed the Spaniard trying to sneak through the interview room and called out, “Hope to see you tomorrow. Don’t beat us too bad, okay?” Jiménez replied something about wine and cigars, prompting Perry to lament, “That guy has too much fun.”

Jiménez’s playing partners in the last round of the Greater Gwinnett were two former US Masters champions who also had excellent results at Augusta this year: Fred Couples (the Champion Tour’s most popular attraction – at least until now!) and Bernhard Langer (its best current player). The American finished five shots behind the winner, and the German was second, two strokes back.

More celebrations in May

“I showed my game is in very good shape,” said Jiménez. “I’m very happy with my age and the way I’m doing things. The last 15 years have been the best years of my career. It’s nice – I’ve got no complaints with being 50.”

The week before at Augusta he was just as upbeat, in spite of the disappointment of not winning his first major. “The main thing is enjoy yourself, enjoy what you are doing and smile. Not enough people smile on the golf course. I love what I’m doing, and I hope I’m still in the same conditions for another 25 (years). I’m not going to get bored of myself.”

The next time Jiménez is due to tee up is the Spanish Open at PGA Catalunya in Girona from 15 to 18 May.

In the meantime, he will be marrying his Austrian fiancé, Susanne Styblo, on 3 May in Vienna; and he plans to make his European Senior Tour debut in the Senior British Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl in July.

The post Greater Things… a Master Class appeared first on Oz in Spain.


Original post reproduced with permission from ozinspain.com

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Special offer at Alicante Golf

Only during the 20th & 21st April, Alicante golf offers a special price of 44€ per person, buggy included.

Special 1 pax free in groups of 8 also available with this offer.

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Play La Cala this Easter and we’ll invite you to breakfast


If you play between the 11th & 20th April in any of the 3 courses of La Cala Golf Resort, we include breakfast for free at the Laurel club house, until 11:00. Breakfast consists in juice, coffee or tea and toast.

Green fee from 65€ per person. Includes shared buggy (minimum 2 pax) for free if you play before 10:00 or after 13:00h.

 

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Special packages for the Early bookers

We want to reward those who plan in advance. Exclusive packages at standard prices only if you book before the 30th April.

Meliá Sancti Petri, 5* hotel located in Chiclana, Cádiz, in front of the beach. They are celebrating their 15th anniversary offering this special package only if you confirm booking before the 30th April.

3 nights + 3 green fees at La Estancia from only 202€ per person.

La Manga, 5* hotel located in La Manga, Murcia, surrounded by 3 great courses and a wide range of restaurants.

3 nights + 2 green fees + 1 dinner from only 386€ per person.

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Come and discover Bilbao and the Guggenheim

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There is no way that Golf in Spain could ever miss out on including an accommodation and golf package in the heart of central Bilbao. And when we say heart we mean savouring an exquisite pintxo (Basque-style snack), visiting the renowned Guggenheim Museum located opposite the hotel, and playing golf at the Ganguren and Meaztegi courses.

And all of this while staying at the Silken Gran Domine Bilbao, a modern hotel with a rooftop restaurant that offers stunning views over the city as well as the opportunity of enjoying a menu created by Martin Berasategui, a celebrated Spanish chef with seven Michelin stars.

2 nights + 2 green fees + Guggenheim Museum entry from €277 per person

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The delights of spring in Sotogrande

HOTEL NH SOTOGRANDE

As the sun returns to give us a warm sense of wellbeing, and the clouds disappear (at least for the time being), now is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and, if it’s in a luxury setting, where better than Hotel NH Sotogrande, located in the heart of Sotogrande and surrounded by some of Europe’s finest golf courses.

This offer is only available if you reserve before 30 April: 1 night (inc. breakfast) + 1 green fee at Almenara for just €46 per person.

Valid for stays between 7 April and 30 June (dates not available: Easter Week, 19-21 May and 20-22 June).

Offer subject to availability and sales closures.

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Discover Jerez de la Frontera

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GolfinSpain recommends a visit to Jerez de la Frontera, a city that always offers something new to discover and a wonderful diversity of activities to keep you busy during your stay. To that end, we have prepared a package at the Villa Jerez hotel, located in the heart of the city centre and just a short walk from the Royal Andalucian School of Equestrian Art. You will be able to play golf at courses including Sherry Golf and Montecastillo Golf, and we can’t let you leave Jerez without visiting one of the famous bodegas, Tio Pepe, including a guided tour of approximately one and a half hours and a tasting of two wines. We hope you enjoy your visit, and perhaps share a toast with us!

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Extend your weekend at Nuevo Portil

Nuevo Portil is a small boutique hotel in Cartaya on the Atlantic coast in Huelva province, surrounded by the golf course of the same name and also conveniently close to El Rompido and Islantilla. If you would like to get to know the area for the first time, or return for another visit, as a GolfinSpain client we will give you two buckets of practice balls and add a late check-out at 2pm, depending on availability on your day of departure. Laze around and enjoy a little more time in bed, or take advantage of this special offer to play an early round of golf and return later to freshen up and collect your luggage.

Special package: 1 night with half-pension + 1 green fee at Nuevo Portil, from just €73 per person. Also, an alternative option including accommodation and breakfast; in this case the price would be €56.50 per person.

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