Miguel Angel Jimenez has promised captain Nick Faldo he will give him “120%” if he is part of Europe’s bid for a fourth successive Ryder Cup victory in September.
The 44-year-old Spaniard is nearly €753,000 richer after capturing the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth yesterday, a victory that swept him to the top of the Order of Merit and up to third in the cup standings.
Beating England’s Oliver Wilson at the second hole of a play-off gave Jimenez his 15th Tour win, eight of which have come since he turned 40.
His career earnings on the circuit now total over €15m, more than any other continental player.
“You just relax yourself, enjoy yourself and that’s the most important thing,” said the Malaga golfer when asked for a reason for his late blooming.
“I’m very calm, very experienced. I think Nick Faldo will be very pleased. I told him the other day: ’I hope I can be in your team’ and he said: ’I hope so too’.
“I am a player who can fit with anyone and one thing is guaranteed – I am going to give it 120%.”
Eleven years ago Seve Ballesteros had Jimenez as his assistant at Valderrama. It looked then as though it might be his only involvement in the match, but in 1999 he made his debut in Boston and he played again in Detroit in 2004.
Whether Wilson earns his first cap in Louisville remains to be seen, but first the 27-year-old from Mansfield desperately wants to show he can win.
Wentworth was his second runners-up finish in three weeks, his fourth of the season and his seventh in all.
So while it did lift him to second on the money list with almost €1m, to seventh in the cup race and into the fields for both the US Open and Open Championship, Wilson’s over-riding feeling was disappointment.
One ahead with two to play after Jimenez had missed from two feet to bogey the 15th, the former Walker Cup player drove into a bush and bogeyed the long 17th, then had to play the 538-yard 18th three times and missed birdie putts of 15, seven and 12 feet.
The middle one of those hurt most because he knew it was to lift the trophy.
“I was 100% that I was making it. I have not been that confident over a putt ever,” commented Wilson.
“I just hit it a little too hard, that’s all. I had three putts on that last hole (all from a similar line) and they have all done something different.
“Second in this is a good result (he took home almost €500,000), but you’re not going to get given a lot of chances to win a tournament like this. It’s the biggest one we play in apart from the majors.”
Swede Robert Karlsson left feeling down too. Four ahead with a round to go, he fell four behind with seven to play but had a three-foot putt on the last to join Wilson and Jimenez in the play-off.
Not only did he miss it, he also missed the next one and the closing bogey six put him joint third for the third week in a row, this time tied with Luke Donald after his closing 65.
Karlsson is sixth in the cup table, but he too wants some silverware soon. In November he double-bogeyed the final hole of the Hong Kong Open to lose to Jimenez.