On the Cover:

Un­ortho­dox in every as­pect of his pro­fes­sional life, Miguel Án­gel Jiménez is the man of the hour al­most any­where he goes, es­pe­cially in golf cir­cles. The 53-year-old Spa­niard en­joys cigars, wine and win­ning golf tour­na­ments, not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der.

HK Golfer - - Contents - Photo Cour­tesy of Aude­mars Piguet

53-year-old Miguel Án­gel Jiménez en­joys cigars, wine and win­ning golf tour­na­ments, not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der. The world’s most in­ter­est­ing golfer talks to our Edi­tor about every as­pect of his pro­fes­sional life.

When did you start play­ing and where?

I started play­ing golf in my teenage years at Tor­re­que­brada Golf Club near Malaga in Spain. My el­dest brother, Juan, was work­ing as the Pro there and I used to go along and earn some money by col­lect­ing golf balls and do­ing some cad­dy­ing. When I had a chance, I used to hit a few shots and watch the Pro­fes­sion­als play tour­na­ments as much as pos­si­ble, and it was this that in­spired me and made me re­alise I wanted to be like them and travel the world as a Pro­fes­sional Golfer.

Do you have a favourite course?

I have a number of cour­ses I love around the world for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. For ex­am­ple, my favourite course in Spain is El Saler, which is an amaz­ing course along the Mediter­ranean coast near Va­len­cia and I like Royal Birk­dale very much, where we have played The Open over the years. I also have favourite cour­ses where I have very spe­cial mem­o­ries of win­ning and Hong Kong Golf Club is cer­tainly one of those. It is a great golf course, fun and chal­leng­ing to play and has one of the best (if not, the best) club­house we visit on Tour!

What’s been your best round?

I have shot low rounds in tour­na­ments but some­times they are not the most mem­o­rable rounds. What I mean is that a very mem­o­rable round could be one where, per­haps I have been a long way be­hind the leader on the Sun­day of a tour­na­ment and played a great round of golf to win. Some­times a mem­o­rable round could be one where the weather is ter­ri­ble, play­ing con­di­tions are very tough and I have shot a level par round, when other play­ers are shoot­ing over par scores. This can be a great round too.

What’s your se­cret in keep­ing com­pet­i­tive after age 50?

I still work very hard. I prac­tise and I train in the gym. Al­though I have been al­most 30 years on Tour, it’s as im­por­tant as ever to put in the hard work in or­der to give my­self the best chance of play­ing well. I play a lot of tour­na­ments these days on the PGA TOUR Cham­pi­ons for the over50s and this is a very com­pet­i­tive Tour. All the Pros have achieved a great deal in their ca­reers and it is tough to win on this Tour. But I still love the com­pe­ti­tion and the feel­ing I get as I walk on to the 1st tee in a tour­na­ment. I am still hun­gry to win every week.

You have spent half of your life play­ing on the Tour. You have played on all kinds of golf cour­ses. Which style do you iden­tify more with?

I wouldn’t say that I iden­tify with any style in par­tic­u­lar, al­though I en­joy links golf very much. As Pro­fes­sional Golfers play­ing in so many coun­tries around the world we have to be very adapt­able to all styles, whether it be links, park­land, desert and re­sort-type cour­ses, for ex­am­ple, and all of these cre­ate dif­fer­ent chal­lenges.

Do you think win­ning on the Tour is about ex­pe­ri­ence or power these days?

Of course, if we are play­ing a very long golf course then the pow­er­ful hit­ters have a big ad­van­tage al­though it is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant that your short game and putting is also in good shape. But as we know, so much of be­ing suc­cess­ful in golf is deal­ing with the men­tal side of things and keep­ing your emo­tions in con­trol on that Sun­day af­ter­noon in a tour­na­ment when you have a chance to win. That is when, I be­lieve, that ex­pe­ri­ence is so im­por­tant.

Who’s your favourite play­ing part­ner at the Ry­der Cup? And why?

I could not say that I had a favourite play­ing part­ner. I had the most suc­cess­ful re­sults with José María Olazábal and with Padraig Har­ring­ton but all the matches I played

with dif­fer­ent part­ners over the four years of play­ing Ry­der Cup, were great ex­pe­ri­ences and some­thing I will never for­get. How well did you know Seve? What is your favourite Seve story? I was lucky enough to call Seve a close friend and he was cer­tainly my great­est in­spi­ra­tion as a golfer. When I first started play­ing the Euro­pean Tour in the 1980’s, Seve was this in­cred­i­ble guy we all ad­mired and a mem­ber of a great group of Span­ish golfers on Tour. We trav­elled to­gether around Europe play­ing tour­na­ments and en­joy­ing amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and lots of sto­ries. Then in 1997 Seve chose me as his Vice Cap­tain at the Ry­der Cup at Valder­rama and it was an hon­our to work along­side the mae­stro. Yes, he was a spe­cial man and some­one I miss a great deal. You have built a golf academy in your home town Malaga. How im­por­tant it is to make golf more ac­ces­si­ble nowa­days? Thank you for giv­ing me the chance to talk about the Miguel An­gel Jimenez Golf Academy as it is some­thing I am very proud of and some­where I spend a great deal of time at when I am in Spain. I wanted to cre­ate a fa­cil­ity where fam­i­lies or in­di­vid­u­als from all back­grounds could come to learn to play this amaz­ing game at an af­ford­able cost. We have a great 9-Hole Par-3 course, prac­tice chip­ping and putting ar­eas as well as a big driv­ing range and a tech­ni­cal area too. There is a team of very ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sional golfers on site to teach be­gin­ners (or more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers) of all ages and I am very happy to say we have a mem­ber­ship of over 100 kids and a very busy cal­en­dar of fun events. And you will not be sur­prised to hear that the food is an im­por­tant fea­ture of the Academy! We have a fan­tas­tic team run­ning the restau­rant of­fer­ing typ­i­cal Span­ish food.

I also have a team run­ning the Miguel An­gel Jimenez Ju­nior Cir­cuit which is a year-long se­ries of tour­na­ments around Spain for chil­dren. Rather like the Tour, the chil­dren com­pete in events through­out the sea­son and their re­sults go to­wards an Or­der of Merit with the lead­ing chil­dren com­pet­ing in a Fi­nale at the end of the year. It would be amaz­ing to see a Cham­pion of the fu­ture that started his or her golf­ing ca­reer on my Ju­nior Cir­cuit. But if not, I am sure they will learn many im­por­tant life skills for the fu­ture and hope­fully love the game of golf.

Tell us about your re­la­tion­ship with Aude­mars Piguet?

The fact that we have been to­gether for 12 years al­ready says a great deal about our re­la­tion­ship - it’s a spe­cial one. There is no ques­tion that the watches pro­duced by Aude­mars Piguet are of the high­est qual­ity and lux­ury and who would not feel in­cred­i­bly lucky to wear one, but most im­por­tantly the re­la­tion­ship we have now is one of friend­ship and loy­alty, which means a great deal to me.

Which is your favourite AP model?

My favourite AP time­piece is usu­ally the one I am wear­ing at the time which, at the mo­ment, is the Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar in pink gold. Over the years that I have been an Am­bas­sador of the Com­pany I have been lucky enough to have many dif­fer­ent mod­els from the col­lec­tion, for ex­am­ple, the Equa­tion of Time per­son­al­ized to my home in Malaga, Spain and the Royal Oak Off­shore Grand Prix.

Watch­maker and Golfer - any sim­i­lar­i­ties?

I wish I had some of the watch­maker’s skills - those guys and girls are un­be­liev­able. I have seen them work­ing at the Man­u­fac­ture in Le Bras­sus and their pre­ci­sion and pa­tience is amaz­ing. And, yes, as golfers we also re­quire a great deal of pre­ci­sion in our skill in or­der to achieve the best re­sult on the golf course and pa­tience is cer­tainly an im­por­tant qual­ity to have. Both watch­mak­ers and golfers are con­stantly push­ing them­selves to be­come the very best they can be.

We all know that you love wine and cigars. Which are your favourites? And why?

In par­tic­u­lar I love the wine of Vega Si­cilia from the Rib­era del Duero re­gion of Spain and the Co­hiba Siglo VI cigar from Cuba. I en­joy many dif­fer­ent wines and cigars, but my pref­er­ence would be wine from Spain and cigars from Cuba. It’s all about per­sonal taste and they are my par­tic­u­lar favourites.

Why do Tour play­ers call you “The Me­chanic”?

Be­fore I be­come a pro­fes­sional golfer, I worked in a garage near my home in Malaga, Spain, al­though not as a me­chanic. It may have started be­cause peo­ple knew I used to do this, or be­cause they know I love per­for­mance cars. Ac­tu­ally, I can­not re­mem­ber when or why it be­gan, but it seemed to stick!

From left to right: Seve Balles­teros talks with Jose Maria Olaz­a­bal and Jiménez as they walk down the 3rd fair­way dur­ing the prac­tice round for the 71st Masters in 2007

Jiménez cel­e­brates win­ning the Hong Kong Open for a record­e­qualling fourth time (2004, 2004, 2012 & 2013) at Fan­ling in 2013

Jiménez vis­its the AP Man­u­fac­ture in La Bras­sus

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