Wednesday, 08 January 2014
Miguel Angel Jimenez   (Getty Images)
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)

When most men reach 50, they are thinking of winding down their activities and looking towards retirement.

However, indefatigable serial European Tour winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez clearly has not received the memo as he prepares for this week’s Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa.

“I just have turned 50 on the fifth, a few days ago,” he said. “But I look in the mirror and I see the same guy.  He’s not changed.

“The golf I play at the moment is unbelievable. I still play very well. I still hit the same distance.”
Jiménez missed last year’s Volvo Golf Champions after being sidelined due to a broken leg suffered while skiing.

He eventually returned in May and, after enduring a difficult stretch, returned to his best towards the end of the campaign as his name became commonplace towards the top of leaderboards.

As a result, the Spaniard enters 2014 full of confidence, having extended his record as the oldest winner in European Tour history with victory in last month’s Hong Kong Open.

Jiménez added: “I finished my season last year with a victory in Hong Kong and now to come here, in the first week of January, to start my season in 2014 is nice. It’s nice to start in this Volvo Golf Champions. 
“The golf course is a great golf course, in super condition.”

Jiménez understandably takes greater satisfaction from his current state of mind after fearing for his career following that aforementioned accident.

“I think when I broke my leg, it thought that's tough,” he admitted. “I thought at that moment, probably that’s my career finished.

“But then I have the same day in the afternoon an operation with a nice doctor, a specialist in knees and bones, and they see it’s going forward, and then motivation is still there. Then I worked hard to recover.”

Now back to full fitness, he is targeting a spot in the European Team for this year’s Ryder Cup.

Jiménez, of course, was a key member of the group that emerged victorious at The Celtic Manor Resort four years ago and despite not featuring in the Miracle of Medinah, he played a key role as a vice-captain.

“If I play well, I believe I will be on the team,” he said. “It would mean a lot, a lot to me. I’m still breaking records. It would be nice. I broke my own record of being the oldest winner, so it would be nice to get another record.”

In order to achieve that ambition, Jiménez must first perform on Tour.

Standing in the way of this wily senior, however, are both fellow experienced pros and a crop of talented, emerging young stars.

Chief among the latter group is 2013 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie Of The Year Peter Uihlein.

The American was one of The European Tour’s stars last year, ending in the money at 18 0f his 24 events and winning the Madeira Islands Open.

Now he is appearing in one of the lucrative, small-field events all golfers target.

“These are things that you shoot for at the start of the year,” he said. “You try to get in Nedbank and you try to get in here. They are great ways to start the year and end the year. 

“You don’t want to say they are like bonus tournaments, but you feel like you’ve earned your way there and you’ve played great all year to be able to be there. 

“There are so many great players that play in these events, and to be able to be in the field with them is definitely a treat.”

Far from content with his achievements last year, Uihlein is setting lofty goals for the new season.

 “I want to try to get into the top 50 in the world, short term, to try to get into the two WGC events, and then hopefully qualify for the Masters,” he said. “Schedule-wise, it seems to be pretty clear what I'm going to be doing this year, playing mostly here, and some in the States, as well.

“It's going to be a nice schedule this year, a little bit more flowing, and I can go home a little bit more, which is going to be good.”

Twenty-six years separate Uihlein and Jiménez, yet their target is the same: to win and win often.

Get Adobe Flash player

Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-12
2GRACE, BrandenRSA18-11
T3LUITEN, JoostNED18-10
T3FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-10
T5HARRINGTON, PadraigIRL18-9
T5JACQUELIN, RaphaëlFRA18-9

European Tour Partners

  • BMW
  • Emirates
  • UPS
  • Rolex
  • Rolex

European Tour Sponsors

  • Club Car

    Media Centre

    Official Partner

    Official Suppliers

    This website is © The PGA European Tour 1997 - 2014. PGA European Tour, Wentworth Drive, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4LX. Registered in England No. 1867610.
    All rights reserved. No reproduction, distribution or transmission of any information, part or parts of this website by any means whatsoever is permitted without the prior written permission of the PGA European Tour.