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'If I can't shoot low, I won't be here': Age no problem for feisty Jimenez

‘I don’t know what’s going to happen Sunday, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow…” Miguel is starting to sound like Liam Neeson to us.

A BROKEN LEG, tennis elbow and a half century in years have done little to diminish the golfing prowess of Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is just 36 holes away from becoming the oldest ever winner of a major.

Jimenez signs autographs at the Ryder Cup last year. David J. Phillip/AP/Press Association Images

Known as much for his love of fat cigars and Spanish red wine than the 19 international tournament wins he has to his name, the 49-year-old shotmaker from Malaga carded a brave 71 in tough conditions at Muirfield on Friday.

That left him in sole possesison of the lead, one shot clear of the chasing pack.

Asked how he was still able to compete so well at such an advanced age, an outraged Jimenez shot back: “I feel relaxed. And I tell you, I love what I’m doing. I play golf.

“I do this for a living. And I’ve kept doing the same thing for 25 years. Probably sometime you say if I think maybe it’s too many years, but you’re wrong.

“It’s the only thing I like to do in my life. And then I enjoy myself. I keep elastic and flexible.

“I’m still training and walking and still able to shoot low and still here. Tomorrow if I cannot shoot low, then I will not be here, you don’t worry. I wouldn’t waste my time moving around the world kicking my ass.”

Still, his achievement, coming just seven months after he broke a leg in a skiing accident, surprised many who felt his long career may have been over.

Jimenez thought otherwise and he was back in training even before the leg break had fully healed. Even now, he still has some discomfort.

“I’m fine from that. The only thing is recovery, the quadriceps muscle is still 80 percent. It’s not a hundred percent yet. But I feel very nice.”

On top of that, the lack of practice meant that when he resumed golfing, he irritated the tendons in his elbow and is wearing a joint support at Muirfield to ease that pain.

Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images

Asked what it would mean to finally win a major on Sunday, 25 years after Seve Ballesteros became the last Spaniard to win The British Open at Royal Lytham, Jimenez said it would be “very nice.”

“I’ve been 25 years on the Tour, 19 victories on the Tour, and I would love to have a major on my career, of course. Why not this one? I would love it. It’s amazing, you know.

“But I don’t know what’s going to happen Sunday afternoon. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m going to go now, I’m going to hit some balls. And I’m going to have a nice cigar.”

- © AFP, 2013

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