Málaga-born and known throughout the world of golf as “The Mechanic” or “Er Pisha”, Miguel Angel Jiménez gave an exclusive interview to www.golfinspain.com and answered our special questionnaire for golf pros.
What has been the highlight of your golfing career to date?
Without a doubt 1999, when I won the Volvo Masters and Turespaña Masters, and played in the Ryder Cup.
What is your main unfulfilled goal in golf?
If you could play a social round of golf with anyone in the world, who would it be with (not necessarily a fellow professional golfer)?
Well, truly no-one in particular. With my friends and the people I play with all the time – I have a ball.
What is your favourite course in the world?
What is it about being a golf professional that you most like?
And the least?
Travelling, especially flying.
How do you most like to spend your time when not competing in tournaments?
Nothing in particular. I don’t have any great hobbies, other than my cars. I love driving and everything related to cars.
If you hadn’t become a professional sportsperson, what other profession would you have liked to take up?
I’ve never thought about it. I suppose something related to cars or petrol – mechanic or something like that.
What was your favourite subject in school?
What is you favourite Spanish dish?
Do you know how to prepare it?
If you had to live outside Spain, where would you choose and why?
I don’t think there’s a better place to live; there’s nowhere as good.
When on tour, what is one thing you don’t leave home without?
Nothing special, if you are referring to lucky charms or things like that. I’m not superstitious, or at least not to the point of using a special tee or dressing in a particular colour. I really think that many people don’t realise that the only thing this does is affect your concentration while you’re playing.
Would you be happy if your children wanted to become professional golfers?
I would love it.
What one piece of advice would you give them?
Work and dedication are the keys to the game.
What simple tip would you give the average aficionado to improve his/her game?
The same – work and work.
Does the general Spanish public see golf as being a less “elite” sport these days, and if so why?
It depends what you mean by “elite”. Professional footballers earn a lot of money, tennis players as well, but they aren’t considered “elite” sports. There are always professionals who are the “elite” of their sport. If you are referring to the amateur game, it is true that there aren’t municipal (public) courses and it’s not necessarily cheap to play, but I think there’s also a lot of myth to this image.
If you stop and total just how many times you play and how much it costs the whole year, and you compare it to other sports, you realise that it’s not necessarily that expensive.
Do you think golf is well looked after by the institutions?
I don’t know what money the institutions invest. As for the Professional Golfers Association is concerned, as far as I am aware we don’t receive much.
Has the improvement in golf equipment been good for the game overall?
It’s been positive in the sense that it is easier to do some things now: the ball goes straighter, we hit longer, some shots are simpler, except perhaps for the more “classic” players who use traditional materials. Courses have become “smaller”, shorter.
Should courses be lengthened to neutralise the effect of improved golf equipment?
In some ways they already do it. In any event, the good thing about this (improvement in golf equipment) is that amateur and professional golf is becoming closer – there is a smaller difference.
How much do you normally use the Internet?
Very little. In some ways I think it’s a waste of time being stuck in front of the screen. I understand there are some people who need it for their work, but I just need my clubs, a ball and a course.
It’s not something that excites me. I communicate with friends by e-mail sometimes, and when I’m travelling I sometimes consult the Spanish newspapers online if I can’t buy them, but I’m not all that enthusiastic about it.