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Angus Davies chats to Miguel Angel Jimenez
The Audemars Piguet Ambassador talks about his love of life and watches
A warm summer’s day on the outskirts of Geneva provided the perfect setting to interview one of golf’s most charismatic professionals. Golf Club de Bonmont overlooks Lake Léman and offers views of 12th century Bonmont Cistercian abbey. Trees garnish the stunning landscape which nestles beneath a snow-capped Montblanc.
The Audemars Piguet Golf Trophy Final provided a spectacular day’s fun for lovers of golf and haute horology. The high-end Manufacture from Le Brassus, has long had an association with professional golfers. Several well known names choose to wear the iconic timepieces. The final brought together amateurs from around the globe who in many cases had triumphed in national heats.
Where Audemars Piguet have mastered the rules of watchmaking, Messrs McIlroy, Westwood, McDowell et al. have mastered the game of golf. Señor Jiménez has earned a reputation not only as an accomplished exponent of the game, but as one of the more flamboyant characters on the professional circuit.
Angus Davies (AD): Miguel, it is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Angus Davies.
Miguel Angel Jiménez (MJ): Angus?
AD: It is a Scottish name
MJ: Angus Beef? (He says with a broad smile)
AD: I don’t know a lot about golf, my main interest is in watches and your life away from the golf course.
I note you are wearing an Audemars Piguet Safari. What other AP watches do you have in your collection?
Royal Oak Offshore Safari
MJ: Equation of Time, Jules Audemars.
Jules Audemars Perpetual Calendar
AD: The Millenary?
MJ: Yes, the latest addition to my collection is the millenary 4101 in rose gold
Millenary 4101 Selfwinding
AD: That is gorgeous. It has the escapement to the front of the dial
MJ: I also have a Barrichello (Royal Oak Offshore Barrichello) and a Grand Prix (Royal Oak Offshore Grand Prix)
Royal Oak Offshore Rubens Barichello III
AD: That leads me into cars. I believe your nickname is the “Mechanic” because you used to work on cars.
MJ: I worked on the cars before and I love them.
AD: How do you manage with cars now as they are so technical?
MJ: Ah, now it is impossible. You connect to a computer and it tells you what is wrong. It is not like the old days. But it is nice to drive.
AD: So do you have new cars and old cars?
MJ: I have only three cars; the Ferrari 550 Maranello, that is my personal toy. I have a Mini Cooper S Countryman and I have got the M5 (BMW).
AD: The 550 Maranello, what colour is it? Is it rosso?
MJ: It’s got to be red!
AD: With nero trim?
MJ: Black seats, of course!
AD: Are there any Ferraris you would currently like to own? What about the FF or the new Berlinetta?
MJ: They are very nice, but I have fallen in love with my Maranello. I love it. I don’t want to sell it because I love it. Maybe in a couple of years..... I don’t know.
AD: It’s V12, so it has lots of passion beneath the bonnet.
Are you Tifosi? Do you follow Formula One?
MJ: I follow it a little bit. Unfortunately I have not got much time with this job. I follow it in the newspapers
AD: Ferrari, Spanish, you have got to be an Alonso fan?
MJ: Yes, of course.
AD: Have you met him?
MJ: No, I have not had the chance to meet him yet. We are never in the same place.
AD: I have read many things about you and the term which keeps being used to describe you is, “The coolest man in golf”. This is a phrase which is often used.
You seem to have a very relaxed persona.
How do you manage the psychological aspects of golf?
MJ: I don’t consider these things. I am just myself and live life in the moment.
AD: So you are really relaxed when you play?
MJ: You have tension when you play and you are competing. That tension in your stomach is what makes you deliver, you know. I love what I am doing. I keep that passion inside. I need that tension. It gives you an incentive.
AD: Some golfers have sports psychologists. Is that something that sits with you?
MJ: I am fine the way I am. The first thing in morning, you wake up. You look in the mirror and say, “Ah, I love myself (we laugh). What a beautiful day! It’s a good morning. When this day has gone it is not gonna come back”.
That moment on the golf course is the only time when you are going to win. That approach is kind of unique.
Aim, look at the ball, breathe, putt .... You keep the goals with you.
AD: You have this approach to life away from the golf course. You like wine and cigars..... You hear about people who take care with their diet, having high protein, low carbs...
MJ: You need to take care of yourself and you need to be careful not to eat with your eyes. This is not a good thing. It is good to learn how to eat but underneath that, I never say, “I am never gonna have a steak” , “I’m never gonna have a fish”, but it is like drinking alcohol. Of course you are never gonna drink two or three bottles, but of course you can have a couple of glasses. What’s the problem?
AD: It has to be Rioja for you, does it?
MJ: For example (he says with a wry grin).
AD: Is Rioja your favourite wine, Gran Reserva?
MJ: I like Spanish tastes
AD: I presume you have a very Mediterranean diet? Lots of fish, olive oil .....
MJ: I eat everything. I like fish, meat, greens. Like I told you before you have to try everything. You have to enjoy yourself.
AD: I saw your cigars before. They are really big. Are these Cuban cigars?
MJ: Yes, the bigger, the fatter, the better!
AD: Where do you like to play golf when you relax? Is it always Spain?
MJ: I live in Andalucia. I like to play golf when I am relaxing. But, you know I spend so much time away through the year, in competitions, when you are home you do not want to play.
You practise a little bit, keep the contact, keep in touch. But, you don’t need to practise, practise, you just need to relax.
AD: Do you play with your children?
MJ: I play with my sons
AD: I have got to ask, you have two boys, who gets to go in the front of the Ferrari?
MJ: (He shakes his head).
AD: Neither of them!
MJ: It’s my personal toy. There are no seats in the back, sometimes one will go in the car.
But with the Ferrari you have to drive the car. It is as easy as any car but you need to know what you have in your hands.
AD: What are your aspirations for this year? Is there a goal for you? Or do you just take everyday as it comes?
MJ: That’s the way to live.
AD: What other passions do you have? Is there anything else that excites you? Are you into boats?
MJ: No. I like the way I live my life. I love to ski.
AD: In Andalucia?
MJ: Yes. I enjoy myself. I don’t have much time do anything else. When I come back I need to rest. I might have a week off but there is not much time to do things. I need to relax.
AD: Does your girlfriend have an Audemars Piguet watch?
MJ: My girlfriend has an Audemars Piguet watch.
Ladies Royal Offshore
AD: In terms of your home life. If you are not on the tour, are you always trying to get back to Spain? You seem to travel a lot in this job?
MJ: Yes, I don’t have holidays. I have holidays in my house.
AD: Are we going to see your children become golfers?
MJ: Maybe, maybe. I have one who plays golf. We will see.
AD: And he can get cheap clubs from Ping?
MJ: It’s no problem getting the equipment (laughs). But, you have to commit yourself.
AD: Has golf changed a lot in your time?
MJ: A lot. I think it is a sport where we will never have a crisis.
AD: Thank you very much for your time.
Summary - Miguel Angel Jiménez
Sports personalities can sometimes be sanitised, spouting brand friendly jargon. Miguel does not conform to this stereotype. He has a charming honesty which comes across within the first few seconds of meeting him.
He is confident and at ease with himself but without the burden of annoying arrogance. He has sought his own approach to golf and life in general.
I can see why he was chosen as an Ambassador for Audemars Piguet. They have chosen their own path in the world of high-end timepiece manufacture. They understand their craft but choose a unique approach to watch design, delivering new timepieces for the delight of the cognoscenti.
Miguel has clearly mastered the game of golf, but approaches it with his own sense of style. I hope he never changes as his character is as distinctive as the fine wine and cigars which are clearly close to his heart.
Miguel has a thirst for life, he quaffs every moment and savours the fine flavours which embrace his senses. Salud Miguel.