U.S. SENIOR OPEN
Interesting, and Effective, Jimenez Starts Out Strong
June 27, 2019 | South Bend, Ind.
By Dave Shedloski
It was 10 years ago, after he held the first-round lead in the Open Championship at Turnberry, in Scotland, that Miguel Angel Jimenez was first referred to as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” He bore a resemblance to the actor who carried that moniker in the long-running Dos Equis television commercials, but more than that, he seemed to live the part rather authentically.
Which he still does, by the way.
The cigar-puffing, wine-sipping Spaniard wears a red ponytail under his cap and has an air of mystique about him when he strides around a golf course behind reflective aviator sunglasses. And, of course, there are the viral videos of his pre-round warm-up routine, which seem to be part ballet and part break-dancing.
“I just do my thing,” he said with a shrug on Thursday at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame after opening the 40th U.S. Senior Open with a solid 4-under 66, his lowest career opening round in a championship in which he has twice finished runner-up.
The thing that the Most Interesting Man did well on Thursday was play a bland and boring round. Which in golf can be rather exciting. No drama usually means few problems. Thus, Jimenez had one of the two early bogey-free rounds in the morning wave, joining Vijay Singh, who shot 65.
“It was a lot of I hit it in the fairway and hit it on the green and two putts and two putts,” Jimenez said, summarizing the round. “It was a nice round of golf, but I played with a guy who makes everything and so it didn’t look as good.”
Winner of last year’s Senior Open Championship, Jimenez was part of the traditional pairing with U.S. Senior Open defending champion David Toms and 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur champion Jeff Wilson. It was Toms to whom Jimenez was referring. Toms poured in 10 birdies to tie the championship record of 62 and leap two clear of the field.
Jimenez hit 14 greens in regulation, the same number as Toms, but the latter man needed just 24 putts to 28 for Jimenez. The Spaniard hit 10 of 14 fairways.
“I did play a good round,” Jimenez said. “I just wanted to make a few more putts.”
Jimenez, 55, is used to playing well in the U.S. Senior Open. Winner of seven Champions Tour titles after a European Tour career that included 20 wins, Jimenez has not finished worse than T-18 in his four appearances, and he just posted his 10th sub-par round.
“I like the championship and the golf courses we play,” he said. “I like playing in the major events. They are special.”
Jimenez won two senior majors last year, also taking the Regions Tradition. Winning the U.S. Senior Open would mean a little more, if only because he has come close so often. Suggesting that he might be due to win one, Jimenez smiled.
“I hope so, but you know, you are never due to win,” he said. “You just go out and you win it.”
Which would be, well, interesting.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based writer whose work appears regularly on USGA digital channels.