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May 20, 2009

Miguel Angel Jimenez


STEVE TODD: Thanks for coming in, Miguel. Good to see you back here. Must be a lot of happy memories for you after last year, if you could start by taking us back and your memories from there and how it felt to win the BMW PGA Championship.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: It was obviously nice to be back here to Wentworth. It's the most prestigious tournament on The European Tour, and always nice to be there, since I first started on the Tour, I was looking forward to playing in this tournament.
And then after 20 years on the Tour, at the end, I won last year after being for a few years in contention for the tournament.
And here we are this week, try to defend my title and try to do my best again in this fabulous golf course.
STEVE TODD: Coming into this year, how are you feeling good your game and looking forward to your defence?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Yeah, looking forward for it.
Well, I think my game, I am hitting okay. The game is probably not the best in the results, but I'm hitting okay and you all you need is to focus and keep going the right way and he will be able to defend properly.
I have just a little injury in my shoulder, also, but it's been there for a few months and bothering me a little bit feeling better, getting there.
STEVE TODD: We saw some pictures of you yesterday at Brands Hatch with Oliver Wilson and some nice cars, was that a good experience for you.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Yeah, it was a great experience. We went with a professional driver and got to see what a car can do on a proper hands, trying to make proper steering and things, and we really have fun there. Then we got a chance, also, to drive the car with them and get proper advice how to -- at which point to turn and to get the maximum strength of the car. Very fun. Very fun.
The worst of the day -- it's nice yesterday when we go in the helicopter, but what I don't like is to fly. That's the only thing about that. (Laughing) But it's beautiful to see all of London and the surroundings from the sky, it's beautiful.

Q. Last year, there was a huge rush of young talent coming through. How much did that make you feel the need to hold off the youngsters for the older generation?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: What do you mean, "older"? (Pointing finger).
No, it's always nice to be still fighting and still in contention with all of these spirits coming up.
This is my 21st season on the Tour, and I'll tell you one thing, I hit it longer than ever. I'm 45 and I'm still liking the golf and I'm still pretty competitive when I play with the younger players.
And last year, with Robert Karlsson, and then Oliver Wilson when I played the playoff with Oliver at the end, but that happens, and it's coming to my side.
You know, always when you are playing well in a final round, anyone can win at that moment. But when I play better, I win, and that's what happened.
Always nice to be in contention with all of these young kids and all of these good performances.

Q. Looking at the tournament this year and the start of your defence, you're paired with Angel Cabrera, Masters Champion, and Spanish compatriot and Joel Maria Olazábal. What are your thoughts on the pairing?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: It's a perfect pairing, Spanish-speaking pairing, that's nice.
No, we are all three very close friends. Last night we were talking about that at the dinner; hey, we are going to play together. We are going to have better communication because we are all Spanish speaking.
It will be nice. At the end when you stand on the first hole, you start focusing on yourself, but sometimes between shots or whatever you have to wait, you can make a joke or whatever, and it's much more easier to understand and to speak.
But for me, I feel very pleased and I'm very proud to play with two major winners, three Masters and one U.S. Open; it's good. I keep learning.

Q. What is it about Wentworth that distinguishes itself as a golf course against some of the others that you play?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: The good thing about this golf course is you need to play well. You need to play with the ball. It's not only about hit it, wedge and a putt. It's about positioning the ball on the right place, and you need to play well with the ball, with all of the planes and the bunkers are well-placed and the trees. You can see that the player who can control the ball can get the benefit of that. It's more the game.
The game these days that you see, everything translates to bang it to 300 and putts. To me, the way I see the golf is more like technique, like you control the ball, and it's more like that side than the other side. With this body, you can do anything, you know (smiling).

Q. Do you think that's why Seve loved this course so much?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Yeah, well, you see can see Seve, you can see all of the old guys, over 40, all of them they are more technique, more playing with the ball, more feeling.
You see the younger generation, while they have lots of feeling, too, they just go and bang it and hit it, and that is the translation of golf these days. Fairway, high rough, whatever, hit it and the longer you are, the closer you are to the pin. If you miss the fairways these days, you are a hundred yards from the green and not 150 yards from the green. Sometimes you hit the same club, to the fairway or to the green. It's a big difference.

Q. Can I ask you to just talk a little bit about last week? Were you playing last week?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: I played last week, only two rounds.

Q. And what happened?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Well, I hit it not bad, but lots of wind. I played so-so, again, the bad side of the draw. I played late the first round and early the second round, and I played with all of the bad weather. It happens. You know, after one first round, the cut was 1-under and after two rounds it was nearly 5-under. Sometimes that happens when the bad weather is coming.
I didn't play at the level I would like to see myself, but it happens.

Q. How much of a worry is the shoulder? If you say it's been a problem for a few months, what are the physios saying?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Well, the physio says I have a pinch on the bursar. It's when I make the backswing and the downswing, it's something in the back. It hurts a little bit, and anything that's coming there, you are more worried about that thing than to play golf. It's affecting your mind.

Q. It's not stopped you playing any tournaments yet?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: No, not yet. I hope not. It's still there, it's not getting worse, it's the same.

Q. Is it the nerve or bone?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: It's the supraspinatus and then it is in between, you have the bursar, where there's a little bit of liquid, and there is that part, the bursar, they call it bursitis.

Q. Looking ahead from this week a little bit to the majors, three coming up in three months; how much is Padraig Harrington's recent success inspired the rest of the guys on The European Tour to hopefully go and do the same?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Padraig Harrington is a great player and he proved it the last couple of years, he won three majors in the last three years, and he's a great player.
Of course, he's proved how good the golf is here in Europe, and of course that inspires the people to keep fighting. It's nice to have a guy like Paddy winning majors.

Q. In fairness to yourself, I think 19 people from your half of the draw, and 54 people from the other half of the draw, made the cut last weekend of the 73, and it shows how lopsided it was. How long do you think -- or does the bad weather at the Irish Open make you think in the future that you won't come to the event, because it can't be very enjoyable for a chap from Malaga to be playing in those weather conditions, and it's not very good for your game.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: The last Monday when I was travelling, I left Malaga at 20 degrees and then come to this country (indicating putting on jacket).

Q. Does the bad weather make you think twice about coming to Ireland again --

Q. -- and should they move the event?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Sometimes it makes you think about it, to go or not to go, and looking at the calendar, the conditions sometimes. I didn't play last year, and last year was beautiful weather at the Irish Open. I come this year, I come and it's bad weather. Maybe the problem is me coming. (Laughing).

Q. Should they move the event?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Well, I don't know. I don't know. I believe if they get it into a little more summer, probably better weather than in the spring I would think. But we are dealing with it affecting other sponsors who like also the same dates, I don't know. This is not in my hands.

Q. Will you be back again?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Yeah, why not. But I will ask someone to see first the weather and ask for that draw (chuckling).

Q. The BMW PGA is now the main event here at Wentworth and The World Match Play moves over to Spain for the first time this year. Do you feel it will be a loss for Wentworth and what does it mean for Spanish golf to have the tournament in Spain?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Match Play, I don't know, Match Play I played only once. And I've never played on the Cortesin in Estepona; I've never played that golf course. I don't know how is the golf course. I don't know how it's going to fit for the players and I don't know who is the people qualifying for that tournament. I cannot tell you about that tournament. If I have been there on the tournament playing like a player I will be there, but if not, I will have a rest.
Talking about Wentworth, it's a great venue for that tournament, played here for so many years.

Q. The economic crisis has hit many of golf major sponsors, cars and the bank sector particularly. Just wondering from a player's point of view, has the credit crunch and its impact had any impact on you? Have you noticed any differences this year on Tour, and what are your thoughts about how it might impact on the future?
MIGUEL ÁNGEL JIMÉNEZ: Well, of course, it makes a difference. You see some tournaments have gone down, disappeared. I promote a golf tournament and I know how difficult it is. It's very tough, the economic crisis. Personally I promote a golf tournament, the Open de Andalucia, and I know how difficult it is. It's normal to have some kind of business affected and some of the business not affected.
I think it affects all of your life. Even when you go to a restaurant, you know, you can see less people go out, and you can see all over the place, it's not only about golf or about cars or things. We are trying to protect a little bit all of the benefits that we have before, and we try to spend less to go forward.
STEVE TODD: Thanks, Miguel, and good luck for this week.

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