We're not just talking simple jumping jacks and calf stretches. Oh, no. This is "The Most Interesting Golfer in the World," after all. Jimenez gets loose with his signature "little dancing moves," usually with his trademark cigar.
LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Rickie Fowler seems to be everywhere you look these days: in TV ads, on magazine covers, in goofy YouTube videos ... even swigging magnums of champagne during the third round of the 141st Open Championship.
OK, slight clarification on that last item. It wasn’t Fowler himself in the bustling Bollinger's tent on a balmy Saturday afternoon at Royal Lytham, but a posse of newspaper and advertising executives who looked just like him.
Or sort of like him.
Or … well, see for yourself:
There were 14 copycats in all, resplendent in their bright orange polos, flat-brimmed Puma caps, and 80s-rocker wigs. You couldn’t miss them, and neither could Fowler. On the 16th hole Saturday, he spotted his groupies and responded with a quick tip of his cap. (Fowler shot his best round of the week, an even-par 70, and is tied for 43rd.)
Marcus Hall, a 40-year-old media planner at MediaCom, said his group has been coming to the Open for 12 years, mimicking a different player's style at each event. Last year, at Royal St. George’s, it was Ian Poulter (Union Jack trousers). Another year, they paid homage to Nick Faldo.
“We wore sh---y diamond sweaters,” Hall said.
The most animated reaction they’ve received from a pro came from -- who else? --- Miguel Angel Jimenez, whom the group honored by donning big, bushy ponytails at Hoylake in 2006. The Spaniard approached the men, all smiles, then grabbed his ponytail and playfully flipped it in the air.
At some Opens, the group has gone a step farther, serenading their player du jour with an original hymn. Like their outfits, though, some songs have been more successful than others. Here's a rendition of one of their more memorable numbers, the hauntingly beautiful Ode to the Mechanic.
Miguel Angel Jimenez - the cigar-smoking, red-wine-drinking, ponytailed Spanish pro known as The Most Interesting Man in the World in the press room - may be set to reach a wider audience after his stretching display on the range Friday. It was featured prominently on SportsCenter and is becoming somewhat of a viral sensation on the Web. Here's the video on YouTube.
While Steve Stricker won the PGA Tour event at Riviera, here's your competition wrapup from the rest of the world...
On the European Tour, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in a three-hole playoff with England's Lee Westwood. While Westwood made a game birdie on the 72nd hole, carrying a 3-wood shot over a lake to the front edge of the green and two-putting from 50 feet, his short game let him down in the playoff. Playing that same 18th hole, he hit 3-wood second shots around the green but failed to get either chip inside 10 feet and settled for par. Jimenez got up and down twice to save par. On the third hole, Westwood chipped to six feet and missed his par putt while Jimenez holed his five-footer for par and the win.
"I've been coming here many years now and I've had a few chances to win. But I feel very, very happy and excited. I like playing this way. I was comfortable and that is key. I know I'm not 25 or 30 years old, I'm 46, but I'm still strong. It is much more difficult for me compared to youngsters like Rory."
Jimenez said he spent the last two weeks working on his fitness. "I did nothing during the winter, but then almost everyday of the last two weeks was in the gym. We did a little bit of weights, worked on cardio and abs because you need to have good balance."
Jimenez is looking forward to the Majors and to making Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup team. "My goals are the same every year. Every player likes to be at the Majors and I too would like to win a Major in my career and I will do all I can to win one. Everybody knows how tough it is, but would like to have the opportunity."
Elsewhere, and it doesn't get more elsewhere than Australia, Cincinnati's Jim Herman won theNationwide Tour's Moonah Classic in what the 32-year-old described as the biggest win of his 10-year career. Herman, who shot an opening 62, trailed Chris Kirk by two shots with three holes to play until Kirk finished bogey-bogey-par to fall back into a playoff, which Herman won.
It was a sweet finish for Herman, who hadn't planned on coming to Australia as recently as a few weeks ago because he was third or fourth alternate to get in the two Nationwide co-sanctioned events in New Zealand and Australia. Three days before he was supposed to leave, he got word that he was in the field for the New Zealand Open so he decided to make the trip. From Sportal:
While many players in the past have used the Nationwide Tour as a stepping stone to the US PGA Tour - and he's obviously hoping to do likewise by finishing in the top 25 on the money list this year - Herman's experiences in 2009 have convinced him to take nothing for granted.
"I played well last year at the beginning, I had a fourth-place finish and a third-place finish and I didn't make exempt status for the Nationwide Tour so I know how quickly it can turn," Herman said. "This is just a good start, obviously you need to build off it but I'm not going to go out and start changing anything."
The U.S. Open is ostensibly the national tournament, but
this year’s version has more accents than a James Bond movie. Sure Americans
like Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate, D.J. Trahan and Davis Love III lurk near the
top of the leaderboard, but they share space with Australians Stuart Appleby,
Swede Robert Karlsson, Brits Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, South African Ernie
Els and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.
(By the way, is there anybody in golf cooler than Jimenez? His
nickname’s "the Mechanic," he smokes cigars and he even makes a ponytail look
tough. And that “orange crush” grouping on Friday of him, Boo Weekly and Shingo
Katayama all wearing matching orange shirts and white hats was really
If that’s not enough, Ryder Cup stalwarts, such as Sergio Garcia
and Padraig Harrington, posted great rounds Friday (70 and 67 respectively),
while American standouts, such as Phil Mickelson, struggled.
“The South Africans and Australians have an advantage at
Torrey Pines because they are familiar with playing on the kikuyu grass, but
the leaderboard does have a European flavor,” said Golf Magazine Top 100
Teacher Brady Riggs. “It makes you wonder if anybody but Tiger is going to get
in the fight.
“If this is a preview of the Ryder Cup, we’re in trouble. It’s
a little depressing -- this is supposed to be the national tournament,” Riggs