How He Hit That: Miguel Angel Jimenez proves that swinging like an old man isn't necessarily a bad thing
The first story everybody wants to tell about Miguel Angel Jimenez is the one about the 52-year-old Spaniard smoking his cigar and going through a series of exaggerated pre-round crouches and stretches.
But obscured behind the Most Interesting Man in Golf persona is a player with formidable staying power.
After shooting a final-round 64 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, he's now won titles in three straight seasons on the PGA Champions Tour, despite only playing in 10 events. Jimenez has also stayed competitive on younger players' tours, winning the 2014 Open de Espana on the European Tour and the 2013 Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour.
The secret? Jimenez' swing isn't perfect, but he has imperfections that cancel each other out -- and they do it time after time.
"Miguel Angel Jimenez proves that there are a lot of ways to do it," says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs, who is based at Rock Hill Golf & Country Club, in Manorville. "And for the average player, he offers a lot of hope. You're going to have a much better chance at matching the components of an imperfect swing than you are trying to copy somebody like Adam Scott."
Jimenez sets up to the ball in a very upright stance, says Jacobs -- something that should be familiar to a lot of 15-handicappers. As a result, the club starts out on a flatter path around his body, before Jimenez reroutes it to a steeper angle on the downswing.
All of the extra activity costs him clubhead speed -- Jimenez only averaged about 250 yards off the tee in Biloxi -- but his motion is dead reliable.
"Repeatability trumps perfect technique," says Jacobs. "If you tend to come over the top, like a lot of amateur players do, try to get the most out of it. Stand up taller at address, like Jimenez does, and expect to feel your downswing start with the upper body. If you try to get more active with your lower body, you're going the create a lot of problems and inconsistencies if you don't make other adjustments to compensate. Don't try to overpower the ball with a lot of late speed. Do what Jimenez does and let the swing unwind -- and don't be ashamed to play to your predominant ball flight. Knowing you hit a 20-yard fade every time is just as valuable as knowing you're going to hit it straight."