What one word would I use to describe Miguel Angel Jimenez, writes Tuition Panel member Kevin Craggs? Refreshing. I think that sums him up pretty well.
In an age where most professional athletes are six-packed clones of one another, the big Spaniard, with his passion for Cuban cigars, expensive wine and the finer things in life, is a bold break from the norm.
He’s living proof that there’s more than one way to be successful and to still be going strong at the age of 52, beating his own record as the oldest-ever winner on the European Tour just two years ago, is testament to his longevity.
He’s fantastic fun, a great character and, like all top players, somebody we can learn a lot from.
Dissecting the swing
Let’s take a closer look at Miguel’s swing. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s not completely orthodox.
Even at set-up (above, left), he doesn’t have what you would describe as a dynamic athletic posture. Certainly not compared to Rory McIlroy or Adam Scott.
However, that’s not especially important. What’s important is that all of his lines and all of his fundamentals are in perfect order. He’s balanced and comfortable - there’s no substitute for that.
As he takes the club away (above, second left), you’ll notice that there’s no strain or fight. What I particularly like is the way he keeps the clubhead in front of his hands. That’s a really good position.
As he pulls the club back (above, second right & far right), you can see the clubhead trying to get behind quite quickly.
For a high handicapper, that would spell trouble but Miguel is able to make various compensations at the top of his backswing so that he gets back on-plane as he comes back down into the ball.
Notice the difference in the angle of the shaft in frame seven as compared to frame four. For me, frames seven, eight and nine are the ‘money’ frames.
Everything is beautifully on-plane as he comes down into impact, with the butt of the club pointing straight down at the ball and his hips turning square to the ball.
He hits all of the classic ‘good ball-striker’ positions. Check out how quiet his right side is (above, left) as he comes through the ball (above, second left) and into an excellent, balanced finish (above, right).