Jimenez warning to US-based Euro stars
IN a rare outburst, Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jimenez has reminded his US Tour-based European colleagues "not to throw stones at your own house."
The Spaniard was referring to a decision approved at a Tournament Committee meeting on Tuesday night at Villamoura – venue for today’s Portugal Masters – to increase from 12 to 13 the number of events players have to play to retain full European Tour membership.
The committee, of which Jimenez is a member, also voted that three of the 13 events have to be in Europe. “It’s a perfect move and something that is very good,” said Jimenez.
“It should not be a pain for any players to play three tournaments on the main Tour here in Europe.
“We cannot forget one thing, all the players that play now in America and other parts of the world – this is their roots, and this is the cement, their home and you’re not supposed to throw stones at your own house.
“We have to grow and we have to force those players to look in their own house.”
Fellow committee man Paul McGinley insisted that the increase in tournament requirement from January 1 is not a reaction to the Ryder Cup wildcard selection debate, when Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Paul Casey were criticised for not returning to Europe and seeking to automatically qualify for the team.
“It was a unanimous decision, but it had nothing to do with the Ryder Cup qualifying process,” said McGinley. “It’s just that Europe is going through an economic downturn and we are trying to look after our promoters and sponsors in continental Europe-based events.”
Jimenez, returning to competition after the Ryder Cup, revealed he has been undergoing extensive treatment on his right ankle after twisting it amid wild scenes on the 17th green on the final day at Celtic Manor.
“There were just so many people on the green that I twisted it in this little hole that I didn’t see because of all the people,” said Jimenez.
“I was hardly able to move my left foot and I’ve been on the sofa. “I was having a lot of ice treatment and I’m still on pain-killers and antiinflammatory tablets, but it’s better now and I should be fine this week.”
Either Jimenez, eighth on the Race to Dubai money list, or South African Charl Schwartzel (fifth) or Italy’s Edoardo Molinari (seventh) could move into second place ahead of the absent Graeme McDowell with victory on the Algarve.
McGinley joins six other Irish – Darren Clarke, Gareth Maybin, Shane Lowry, Damien McGrane, Peter Lawrie and Michael Hoey – contesting the €3m event that carries a first prize of €500,000, provided by the Portuguese government in support of the country’s 2018 Ryder Cup bid.
It was hard not miss a large photograph of the Dubliner on arrival at Faro Airport. McGinley’s latest business, www.clubstohire.com, enables patrons to pick up sets of clubs they’ve booked online for a fee of €35 for the week.
“We started the venture in June and business has been great,” said McGinley. “We are hiring out 300 to 400 sets of clubs a week. It’s a lot cheaper than being hit €80 or whatever by airlines to carry clubs on each leg of a flight.
“We are soon to open an office in Malaga and then Majorca, and early next year we’ll open offices at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin airports. “So, it’s been a really popular move – we’re getting some great feedback.”