Golf

Inspirational Jimenez in Ryder Cup frame after Spanish Open win

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Miguel Angel Jimenez continued to show the world he is just getting better with age as he notched another victory with his first Spanish Open title at the 27th time of asking. 

The Spaniard sealed win number 21 on the European Tour as he saw off overnight leader Thomas Pieters and Australian Richard Green in a playoff after the trio could not be separated in regulation play.

All three finished at four-under after a battle of attrition on a tough day at PGA Catalunya resort epitomised by the talented Rafa Cabrera-Bello slumping to a horror 85. 

Sergio Garcia struggled throughout the week and eventually finished at plus-four in a tie for 38th, while Europe's Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley showed he's still very much got the game to compete at this level with a highly consistent week that saw him tie for 15th at one-over, having shot level-par 72s the previous three days. 

With the Irishman present, Jimenez took his chance and staked his claim for a place in the 12-man team for Gleneagles, producing another performance that only served to remind his vast array of admirers just why he they hold him in such high esteem. 

The natural talent the 50 year old possesses is something to be marvelled at. He is not your stereotypical athlete, Jimenez; everyone is well aware of his fondness for a cigar and a glass of red, as well many other luxuries that would be classed as the finer things of life. 

So for him to have won more than 20 times on this Tour - 66 per cent of them claimed after he'd turned 40 - seems, in sporting terms, unthinkable. That is why, having reached his half-century in years, his continued brilliance on a golf course is the perfect showcase for the game. 

What other sports offer careers so long? A footballer may play into his mid-thirties at the highest level; while tennis offers a similar span along with rugby, cricket, and particularly anything athletics-based. 

It is a unique selling point for this sport that young children starting out can dare to dream of a long, illustrious career that Jimenez is enjoying every moment of and showing no signs of ending in the immediate future. 

After collecting the trophy on home soil, the two-time Ryder Cup winner broke his own record of the oldest winner on the European Tour, and in the aftermath of victory, The Mechanic had the match-up with the USA firmly in his thoughts. 

"I would love to make the Ryder Cup team," he told reporters, "I would break all the records at 50.

"I hope I can make the team and defend the European colours in Scotland."

His last appearance in the competition came at Celtic Manor, where he contributed to Europe's fourth success in five since the turn of the millennium. 

His victory now takes him to within touching distance of an automatic spot, although his captain may have seen enough in Spain to make him a front runner for one of his picks anyway.

Not many would have backed Jimenez to be heading to Scotland this autumn, with European golf boasting the largest pool of talent they have ever had available. 

The old Spaniard is clearly part of that, though, and with 20-year-old American Jordan Spieth gaining stature over the Atlantic for his recent performances in big tournaments, there's a possibility the two could face each other on singles day at Gleneagles with nearly 30 years separating them. 

No other sport in the world can offer that. 

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Topics:
European Tour
Sergio Garcia
Ryder Cup
Golf

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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