Like all fine wines, Miguel Angel Jimenez, who celebrates his 50th birthday today, is getting better with age.
The charismatic Spaniard recently toasted his 20th career victory with a customary glass of Rioja and bulging cigar after becoming the oldest European Tour champion at the Hong Kong Open.
To put into perspective how Jimenez has moved through the gears since starting out on Tour in 1988, he has won his last 13 European Tour titles in his 40s.
Labelled to his peers as the ‘Mechanic’, paying homage to his preference for repairing rather than racing his suite of Ferraris, we believe the nickname also credits his golf swing, since he’s one of the hardest working players in the game.
Although not the longest player out on Tour, the PING staffer is still able to get the ball out there. He averaged 290.4 yards in Hong Kong last week with his PING G25 driver, ranking 43rd in the field, but most importantly, inside the top-30 for fairways hit.
If you’ve ever seen Jimenez out on the course before, you’ll know he begins with a rather unusual pre-shot routine. But there is reason behind his madness.
Must see! Miguel Angel Jimenez warm up routine
Jimenez draws his right foot back from his left to help encourage an active hip and upper body turn. He then moves his arms and the club ahead of the ball, from where he then gathers up momentum as he swings the club, hands and arms back over the ball to create an exaggerated backswing.
When he does eventually step into the ball, he sets up square with his weight over the balls of his feet and his knees slightly over his toes. He also places the heel of the clubhead directly behind the ball, similar to Luke Donald.
From there, he hinges his wrists so the shaft is locked parallel to his target and as he continues into the backswing, he rolls his forearms to keep the club on plane without lifting the club upwards.
But perhaps the most noticeable trait in the Mechanic’s swing is that he performs one tremendous hip turn, while rotating his shoulders - this ensures there is virtually no torque (the shaft’s designed resistance to twisting during the downswing).
On the way down, Jimenez stabilises his lower half in order for his upper body to catch up. And at impact, he releases his arms fully and without any real tension, while his chest speeds past his lower body. There is no swipe or aggression; he just lets the ball get in the way. It is relaxed just like his demeanour.
Let’s take a closer look…