Ryder Cup captaincy: Hurt Jiménez slams tour's "banana republic" excuses

Ryder Cup captaincy: Hurt Jiménez slams tour's "banana republic" excuses
 Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Miguel Angel Jiménez says he was told his English was not good enough to be Ryder Cup captain in 2016, describing the excuse that his English wasn't good enough as “a little bit banana republic.”

While he offered his services for 2018, knowing he would be overlooked given he was no longer active on the European circuit, he was not pleased with the reason given by the Ryder Cup decision makers for overlooking him in favour of Darren Clarke for Hazeltine 2016

  Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Schüco Open 2012, Golfclub Gut Kaden. Ronald Ali-Khan

 Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Schüco Open 2012, Golfclub Gut Kaden. Ronald Ali-Khan

“The excuse was a little bit banana Republc,,” Jiménez told the Spanish golf news portal Ten-Golf.com, adding with as smile, "with all by respect for bananas, which are very tasty. 

“But the excuse was that ’you have to perfect your English’, as if you win the Ryder Cup with the language. I believe interpreters exist for a reason, not that I ever needed one.”

Switching from Spanish to English, he added: “..Because as you know, I have been travelling around the world for 28 years and still didn’t get lost.”

He added: “Anyway, I exchanged some words with the Director of the Ryder Cup [Richard Hills] and the head of the tour at that time [George O’Grady] and told them that this was terrible. I was quite unhappy. Not this time (2018) as I understood the situation [in being active on tour being a pre-requisite].”

Having always defended in committee the idea that Europe’s Ryder Cup captain must be an active player, Jimenéz sent current Chief Executive, Keith Pelley, an application letter for the 2018 captaincy recently awarded to Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.

However, he made it clear to Pelley that he would be dedicating himself to the Champions Tour for the next two years, knowing that would count against him.

The winner of 33 tournaments worldwide since 1992 as well as a four-time Ryder Cup player (he was twice a winning assistant), Jiménez’s lone win in the Spanish Open in 2014 made him the oldest winner in European Tour history at 50 years and 133 days

“It’s a regret I will never be Ryder Cup captain,” said the man from Malaga, who turns 53 on January 5 next. 

"It’s a shame that after 28 years travelling around the world and doing the things I have done on tour, including organising the Open de Andalusia for 16 years, not leaving the European Tour when I had my PGA Tour card and a load of things that I did over a long period of time, that that will not be rewarded."