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A Conversation With Golf's Most Interesting Man: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Friday, 1 May, 2015 10:39am  
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A Conversation With Golf's Most Interesting Man: Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel, would you like some water?"

"My friend, water is for fish."

He pours himself a tall glass of 10-year-old Bushmills whiskey.

"Don't forget—your tee time is in 18 hours."

Jiménez, 51, arches an eyebrow but says nothing. He opens a small metal case and produces a Cuban cigar, which he fires up with gusto.

"I come from a different generation," Jiménez says. "And I'm not a hypocrite. I don't hide the way I am. If I want to have a drink, I have a drink. Why shouldn't I? Is it illegal to drink alcohol? Is tobacco illegal? So why should I care if people see me smoking? I do what I do out in the open. If people have a problem with that they can stick their tongue up their ass and let the rest of us do what we want to do. You can quote me exactly the way I said that." He cracks an impish smile. "And what else do you want me to tell you?"

"Your opinions about life, love, golf...."

"I love golf like I love life. I enjoy a good meal. A good bottle of wine. Being in the company of my friends and my family. All that is critical. That's what gives life meaning. Life is not being born and dying—it's about what happens in between. This is what I am doing: living, playing golf, enjoying all that surrounds it."
A statuesque blonde appears, holding four sweating bottles of beer. It is Jiménez's wife, Susanne, a decade his junior, whom he met at a tournament in her native Austria in 2011 (a year after his divorce from his first wife, Montserrat). They married last year.

"She was on the course watching the golf, and she followed us for eight holes," Jiménez says. "At one point I leaned over and said to my caddie, 'I see a beautiful blonde over there, wearing nice pants with a beautiful ass. I want to know exactly where she is on every part of the golf course.' I would be waiting for my turn to hit, and I'd look over at her. Our eyes locked for a moment, and I smiled. And she smiled back. When I went to the driving range, I saw her there and we started talking—in English!"

"How does she keep you young?"

"More than 50 years since I was born," Jiménez says, then points a finger southward, "but I'm only 20 down there."

Jimenez is in the conversation with Sam Snead, Tom Watson and Hale Irwin as the best "old" golfers in history. In winning the 2014 Open de España, his 21st European tour victory, he extended his record as the oldest man to win on that circuit. In January, just after turning 51, Jiménez prevailed at the Champions tour season opener in Hawaii. On the Euro tour this year he has two top 10 finishes, and he is holding steady at 69th in the World Ranking.

"Are you feeling your golfing mortality?"

"I'm not dead!" Jiménez says, voice rising. "I still feel competitive. I am still competing. I have to say one thing: What I appreciate the most is that I have spent more than half my life playing on the tour. And I've played with Nicklaus and Player, with Palmer, with Seve. I've played with Tiger and Rory, with all different generations. And I have seen all kinds of golf. I can say that I identify more with the old style than the new. I move the ball left to right and right to left—more like the way of the artist. The modern game is more about power. Of course I respect that too, because it is also an art to hit the ball so far.

"I love having played through all of this golf history, having been a part of so much golf history. And that's something I carry inside of me. When I play with these young boys and I see how they hit the ball, I know that my strength is not their strength. My muscles do not work the same. I cannot match their distance. I don't recover as quickly as they do. And the path they have to walk is much longer than the path I have left to walk. But I still have a path to walk. Always. So when you tell me I'm dead, well, you are completely wrong."

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