Jiménez delighted to be back

4/17/2013 1:34:00 PM
Miguel Angel Jimenez  (Getty Images)
Miguel Angel Jimenez (Getty Images)
Miguel Ángel Jiménez returns to action at this week’s Open de España after recovering from a broken leg during a winter skiing accident.

Fittingly, The European Tour’s oldest winner will make his comeback in the event where he made his debut 30 years ago, with the 49 year old set to make his 599th career appearance at Parador de El Saler.

Jiménez, who surpassed Des Smyth as the oldest winner on The European Tour when he lifted the Hong Kong Open aged 48 years and 318 days last November, suffered the injury a month later while skiing near his home in Malaga.

“My leg is improving daily,” said the 19-time European Tour winner. “I work out every morning in the gym and I’m actually a little ahead of schedule on my rehab. I am not one hundred per cent fit, but I want to test myself and see how I feel.

“I can’t wait to be back on Tour with my friends and I’d hate to miss the chance of playing at El Saler. 

“Javier Arana’s wonderful design blends beautifully with its natural surroundings, both in the pine trees area and in the dunes area. For me it’s the best course in Spain, and I love all the holes. It’s a beautiful layout with a strong finish – the 17th is a good par 3 towards the dunes and the 18th is spectacular. Once you play at El Saler you get hooked. It’s such an enjoyable course that you keep wanting to come back... and obviously no round is complete without a good paella!  

“I have many fond memories of El Saler. We used to play many tournaments in the 80s – I won an Under-25 in 1986. We also played two or three Campeonatos de Levante, and later on a few European Tour events. The last I played was the 2003 Seve Trophy.”  

Jiménez’ compatriot José María Olazábal was also quick to praise the venue, with The Ryder Cup Captain adding: “El Saler is one of the best layouts we have in Spain, although it’s an old design. 

“It’s not a long course anymore, as it used to be when we played here with Bernhard Langer in ’84 and ‘89, but it’s a great design. Some holes are by the sea, other holes run amongst the pine trees. You get doglegs to the right, doglegs to the left and you must play all kinds of shots. The wind is practically always a factor, so this course is a beautiful challenge, and that’s why we all like it.

“I think the Spanish Federation is doing a great job since it took the decision of holding the Open de España on quality courses. That is a very good first step in order to attract more of the top players.”