I came across this interview with ‘The Mechanic’ and thought it should be shared … in this day of squeaky clean homogenized professional athletes it is refreshing to have an ‘old guy’ who is not afraid to speak his mind and doesn’t care if he offends the delicate sensibility of the North American sports fan … these are just the highlights, if you would like to read the full interview go to golf.com.
“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, 53, 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.”
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.”
“I am here with the sun shining, I’m surrounded by friends and family, tonight I will eat good food, drink good wine, smoke a good cigar and make love to my beautiful wife. It’s a good life, no?”
As he sauntered away, it was hard not to think of the words of Rickie Fowler, Jiménez’s playing partner last year at Augusta: “Everyone loves him because he is who he is. He’s not trying to be anyone he’s not.”
Jiménez is fond of a famous stanza by Antonia Machado, the Spanish poet: “Caminante, no hay camino/Se hace el camino al andar.”
Jiménez offers his own translation:
“Traveler, there is no path. You forge the path with your footsteps.”