Sports

Jimenez eyes Ryder Cup captaincy

HOPE: Miguel Angel Jimenez, who hopes to be Europe’s captain at the Ryder Cup, must convince a five-man panel, which includes three previous European captains — Paul McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie.

Chomping cigars, sipping red wine, driving a Ferrari and earning the "most interesting man in golf" tag.

At 50, and still winning on the European Tour - he won this year's Open de Espana to extend his own record as the Tour's oldest winner - there are two things left for the shaggy-haired and pot-bellied Miguel Angel Jimenez to achieve in golf.

He needs to win a Major and wants to be Europe's captain at the Ryder Cup.

Of the two, the Ryder Cup captaincy means more to Jimenez.

Even after missing the even-par cut at the Venetian Macau Open yesterday with a two-over 144 after two rounds, the friendly Spaniard told The New Paper: "The Ryder Cup is the heaven of golf. You need to be inside my skin to know what is going on there."

Just how important is the competition to Jimenez, who has played in four Ryder Cups and was victorious in 2004 and 2010?

Consider this: In 2010, he opted to miss his nephew's wedding (and Fernando was a promoter of the Andalucian Open, a tournament that is chiefly supported by Jimenez himself) so that he could collect points at the Johnnie Walker Championship to qualify for the Ryder Cup that year.

He laughed at the recollection and said: "Hopefully, the panel has a good memory like you too."

Jimenez, who faces competition from Darren Clarke, must convince a five-man panel, which includes three previous European captains - Paul McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie - that he is the right man for the job.

"It would be very nice, if it comes," he said ahead of the decision which is expected to be announced early next year.

DREAM

"At the moment, I don't know what is going to happen in two years' time but I would love to be captain at the Ryder Cup.

"When we pick a captain who is active, who plays on the regular Tour, it's very important because it helps a lot."

Indeed, while his best finish in a Major was second in the 2000 US Open, Jimenez is still putting himself in contention 14 years on, finishing fourth in this year's US Masters.

His secret is not in the least surprising: "Good food, good wine, good cigars and some exercise!" 
- DAVID LEE