All’s well that ends well for Miguel Angel Jimenez. The 56-year-old Spaniard was able to open the 2020 PGA Tour Champions season in style on Saturday when he holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat Ernie Els and Fred Couples and win the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. It was a victory that came with the usual revelry for the gregarious man.
And yet, for a few moments on Saturday it appeared Jimenez wasn’t going to get his chance to light up a victory cigar. It wasn’t just the Golf Gods who appeared not to want Jimenez to win, but whoever controls the laws of physics as well. On the 18th hole in regulation, Jimenez had a 12-foot birdie putt that would have given him the title. It was a pretty straight forward putt, uphill with a little break, and it looked for the entire life of it like it was about to fall. Until it didn’t. Hang on through Couples’ missed effort to win in regulation and watch MAJ’s bad break.
Seriously?!? What exactly happened there on that last revolution that made the ball seemingly dash left instead of go dark? Jimenez’s expression was understandable.
So on to the first hole of the playoff, where Jimenez once more was in position to come away the winner. This time he had a 30-foot birdie. This downhill effort wasn’t quite makeable, but it sure looked like Jimenez had. Until he didn’t.
When does a golf ball pump the breaks like that?
Naturally, Jimenez was probably a bit concerned standing over the birdie try then on the second playoff hole. Couples had been bounced from the playoff on the first hole, and Els, trying to become the 19th player to win his first PGA Tour Champions event in his first start, seemed to have destiny on his side. Somehow Jimenez put that all beside him. And this time, he finally got the putt to drop.
Jimenez was asked afterward what was going through his mind over the putt. His answer was short but sweet.
“Not going to be short,” he joked.