Swinging wrinklies Jimenez and Watson defy the years

Updated: 2010-02-09 10:26
Large Medium Small

LONDON - Miguel Angel Jimenez and Tom Watson, boasting a combined age of 106, silenced golf's young guns in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Spaniard Jimenez, 46, won the event with a par at the third extra hole after he and last year's European number one Lee Westwood ended regulation play tied on 11-under on Sunday.

Swinging wrinklies Jimenez and Watson defy the years
Miguel Angel Jimenez (R) of Spain, winner of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament, chats with first runner-up Lee Westwood of England, in Dubai February 7, 2010.  [Photo/Agencies]

The 60-year-old Watson, making a rare European Tour foray, finished his debut appearance in the tournament with a four-under 68 to snatch a share of eighth place.

"Like good wines, with age (golfers) get better and better," Jimenez told reporters after climbing 30 places to 30th in the world rankings.

"It's difficult with these new guns like Rory (McIlroy), (Alvaro) Quiros, Westwood ... all of these guys are long off the tee and it's an advantage for them. But I'm still healthy and strong and can still play with the ball."

Jimenez has always enjoyed himself off the course and likes to relax with an expensive cigar and a glass of Rioja but is also aware he needs to be as fit as a fiddle to keep up with the modern generation of golfers.

"The last three weeks I've been in the gymnasium almost every day," said the Ryder Cup player.

"I used to work a little in the winter at home but this winter I did nothing so I brought my trainer here with me.


"I work a lot on the cardiovascular side and some abs and on the lumbar, that is the trick of the gym. Then the recovery afterwards I sit at the table and have a nice steak, a nice bottle of wine -- you need to keep the balance."

Jimenez, who has captured nine of his 16 European Tour victories since turning 40, spoke in glowing terms of Watson's performance.

"He played impossible golf," said the Spaniard. "It's unbelievable. He is a great inspiration for professional golfers."

Watson, who came close to achieving a golfing miracle when he lost to fellow American Stewart Cink in last year's British Open playoff at Turnberry, felt he could have fared even better than eighth with some more local knowledge of the Emirates Golf Club.

"Looking back on the week there were a couple of holes that, if I had known just a bit better, I would have fared a little bit better," said the eight-times major winner.

"But I also got some good breaks too. It was a learning experience in Dubai.

"To see this type of economy is spectacular ... the amount of construction and the belief this is going to be an economic centre in the world. I enjoyed it very much."