Wednesday, 06 June 2018
Miguel Ángel Jiménez  (Getty Images)
Miguel Ángel Jiménez (Getty Images)

Miguel Ángel Jiménez is delighted to see the European Tour continue to break new ground as he prepares himself for another exciting experience in his long and illustrious career at the Shot Clock Masters.

The players will be on the clock at Diamond Country Club, with a 50-second allowance for a first to play approach shot (including a par three tee-shot), chip or putt and a 40-second allowance for a tee-shot on a par four or par five, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.

Failure to make your shot in the allotted time will lead to a one-shot penalty on the hole in question but players are allowed two 40-second time-extensions in any one round.

Coming hot on the heels of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, GolfSixes and Belgian Knockout, the new format is yet another way the European Tour is pushing the boundaries with innovative new ideas within the game of golf.

Jiménez first played a European Tour event in 1983 and has been a Tour regular for 29 years, claiming 21 wins and becoming the oldest victor ever on Tour in 2014 when he won the Open de España aged 50 years and 133 days.

Now 54, he proved he can still mix it with the young guns when finishing 14th at last week's Rolex Series Italian Open, and he has given his full seal of approval to the European Tour's continuing attempts to grow the game.

"When I first turned pro I didn't think I would see a tournament like this," he said. "They have improved different elements of the game the last few years and trying to make something different, try to see how much we can improve the show. We are here for that and to show our skills, it's nice.

"It's nice to see a different format, to see how we are with the timings. I think it will be very interesting to see how we can deal with that.

"The game is feeling good. I still play the ball left to right, right to left as I am always doing and I still have the same distance. I still feel great on the golf course.

They have improved different elements of the game the last few years and trying to make something different - Miguel Ángel Jiménez

"I like this place very much, it's a great golf course. It's a golf course that is demanding all of the clubs in the bag. It's very flat but I think it is a very nice golf course, I like it."

Søren Kjeldsen is another vastly experienced performer in the field, with 558 appearances and four wins under his belt on Tour, and he does not believe the time limits should be a problem.

"It's going to be very interesting and has gathered the attention of the golfing world," he said. "It will be really interesting to see how it all pans out, how much time we save and the slower players if they will be under more stress. I'm really looking forward to it.

"Regards to the time-extensions, I think it's important to look at it that it shouldn't really be necessary. I think it's okay that they are in there if you get into an extraordinary situation but I think, as an overall rule, you should play within the 50 or the 40 seconds.

"If you've got some crazy shot with a tree in the way or something you might take a little bit longer but the whole idea is that we stay under the time limit."

The Dane is not having the best of seasons so far by his very high standards but he has been hampered by a back problem and is hopeful it will all come together sooner rather than later.

"I've struggled with my back since August last year and I've struggled to get into a rhythm a little bit," he said.

"I was fortunate last week to make the cut. I made a birdie on the last hole and the wind got up in the afternoon which got me through to the last two rounds. Over the weekend, the game was getting a little bit better.

"I'm getting a little more consistency. With the second round in Wentworth that's five rounds in a row under par. Things are trending the right way. I can't say that I'm 100 per cent confident but I like where it's heading."

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