GULLANE, Scotland – Midway through his Friday press conference Miguel Angel Jimenez was asked if he was feeling the pressure of being atop the leaderboard at the Open Championship.
The iconoclastic Spaniard rocked back in his chair, tugged open a leather case holding his signature cigars and smiled broadly, “There is a lot of pressure now.”
Jimenez has played 60 major championships in his career, posting seven top 10s along the way, but if the glare of getting on the Grand Slam board so late in his career is gnawing at him he wasn’t letting on.
“The pressure is there,” said Jimenez following a second-round 71 to take the lead at 3 under at Muirfield. “You pressure yourself, you want to make pars and birdies. No pressure means you don’t care and you don’t need to be here.”
Although it’s seems counter intuitive given his major record, golf’s “Most Interesting Man” seems uniquely suited to deal with the stresses of Grand Slam golf. Consider that on Thursday afternoon, following an opening 68, he strolled by Keegan Bradley on the Muirfield practice tee.
“On range after my round Miguel Jimenez walked past me with aviator sunglasses, cigar and bottle of wine. Maybe he is the coolest man alive,” Bradley tweeted.
One thing is for sure, he’s the most relaxed man this week at Muirfield.