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Winning? There's more to life, says Jimenez

updated 9:56 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
With his trademark victory cigar in one hand, Miguel Angel Jimenez poses with the trophy in the other after winning his home Spanish Open for the first time on May 18, 2014. Having passed 50, he is the European Tour's oldest victor. With his trademark victory cigar in one hand, Miguel Angel Jimenez poses with the trophy in the other after winning his home Spanish Open for the first time on May 18, 2014. Having passed 50, he is the European Tour's oldest victor.
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Jimenez: Golf's great celebrater
On the mend
Chilling out
On track
Hong Kong celebrations
Ryder revelries
Champagne success
Cigar chomper
Dubai joy
Big win
Glory days
Spanish soil
Dutch destiny
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez is set to return to action at this week's Spanish Open
  • The Spaniard has been out of action for three months after breaking his leg in a ski accident
  • The 49-year-old is the oldest man to have won on the European Tour
  • Jimenez insists his career will not be a failure if he does not win a major

Editor's note: Watch the exclusive interview on Living Golf when it airs on CNN International Thursday May 2 at 09.30 and 16.30 GMT.

(CNN) -- A nice glass of wine, a puff on a cigar and a few clubs.

It sounds like a decent night out -- except these clubs are golf clubs.

When Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest ever winner on the European Tour following his triumph at the Hong Kong Open in November, he celebrated in the only way he knew how -- with a big, fat cigar.

At 49, Jimenez, who replaced Des Smyth as the oldest winner on the European Tour at the age of 48 and 318 days, is man with a hinterland which stretches well beyond sport.

While the rest of the world rushes around at breakneck speed, Jimenez often sits, looks out onto the Mediterranean and contemplates the meaning of life -- a subject he's had a lot of time to think about since breaking his leg in a ski accident last December.

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Read: Golf star breaks leg in skiing accident

"You have to do whatever you want in your life when you are alive," Jimenez told CNN's Living Golf on location in his hometown of Malaga.

"I love to ski, I love to drink, I love to smoke, I love to compete and I love to have time with my friends.

"I don't want to stop any of those things. I'm sorry, but I'm honest.

"Freedom is so nice, to do what you're doing in your life, to do what you want in your life -- that's genuine. It doesn't matter what."

If sport these days is characterized by a winner takes all mentality summed up by legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi's famous remark -- "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser" -- then Jimenez's approach is the very antithesis to that philosophy.

"I do what I like in my life and I'm not going to change that. If a major is coming then it will be 'wow', but if the major is not coming, I'm still going to do what I like with my life."

A wry smile appears on his face as he waves his hand towards the camera and adds: "Bye, bye major."

Read: Jimenez seeks to become European Tour's oldest winner

But don't let Jimenez's "pleasure pursuit principle" disguise the ambition which still burns fiercely within his heart -- the passion and determination to compete with the latest generation of stars remains as strong as ever.

"I spend many days a week working at the gym and if I don't at the age of 49 then I've no chance of competing with the younger ones," he said.

"Of course, I really enjoy having my glass of wine, having nice food and just to have a cigar with nice company and I enjoy my life.

Adam Scott of Australia smiles while wearing the green jacket after winning the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday, April 14. Scott captured golf's most prestigious event in an oh-so-close sudden-death playoff with Angel Cabrera. Click through to see all the shots from the fourth day and look back at the third round. Adam Scott of Australia smiles while wearing the green jacket after winning the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday, April 14. Scott captured golf's most prestigious event in an oh-so-close sudden-death playoff with Angel Cabrera. Click through to see all the shots from the fourth day and look back at the third round.
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"You know somebody told me a long time ago that this life we're going to spend more time dead than alive. So, when you're alive, live."

Read: Jimenez becomes oldest European Tour winner

However, as he wrings every last ounce of pleasure out of life you won't find Jimenez telling the world about it on social media networks.

While Tiger Woods tweets to over 3.2 million followers and Rory McIlroy converses with his 1.2 million fans, the Spaniard prefers the old-fashioned method of talking to people.

"But sometimes people forget that you need to enjoy it, we need to enjoy friends, we need to enjoy family and we need to enjoy the things which happen around ourselves," said the Spaniard.

"People identify with a lot of modern things such as computers and social networking. I feel that people have lost communication between people.

"Now there is a lot of communication by information, but I prefer to touch the people, to talk to the people."

Jimenez made his professional debut 30 years ago. During that time the clubs have got bigger and heavier -- as have the pay checks and the relentless media attention which comes with life on the Tour.

"Golf has always been professional, but now it's getting more so," he added.

"People are more into that and are more like horses when they wear blinkers -- they don't see sideways.

"You have to be yourself and if you're like that then it's fine, you have to respect those things, no?"

Read: Golf struggles to shed all-male image

Jimenez makes no judgments on how others choose lead their lives, but he is insistence that his laid back and carefree attitude remains at the center of his equilibrium.

"The most important thing is, and I've always said the same thing, you have to enjoy what you do in your life," he said.

"I do a little bit of this, a little bit of that and my life is going forward.

"That is what I recommend to people. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your life and do whatever you want to do in life.

"But don't come to play golf if you want to do something else and don't do something else if you want to do golf.

"You have to make a compromise with yourself about what you want to do."

Read: Why Scott's Masters win creates 'unease' in golfing world

"I didn't win a major, but I don't regret anything. I feel satisfied to be part of all this, I feel so happy with that."
Miguel Angel Jimenez

The affable Jimenez makes his comeback at Thursday's Spanish Open at the Parador de El Saler course in Valencia, providing the Spaniard with an opportunity to test out a body which has been put through months of rehabilitation.

"It's made me more determined," he said.

"I love the game and these three months of not competing, I'm missing some important venues.

"I love to compete. It's the only thing I know how to do properly in my life.

"It doesn't matter whether you win or not, but you're doing what you like in your life and I stopped doing things.

"I've stopped competing with the young guys. I've stopped competing in the tournaments. I miss all these things and that's what I want to do."

Read: Miracle of Medinah

Jimenez's 19 tour wins remain a source of great pride of satisfaction as does his success with the European Ryder Cup team -- most recently as assistant captain at Medinah.

While the next few days should give an indication of how his body is holding up, Jimenez is undecided as to how long he will continue playing at the very highest level.

"I've seen four kinds of generations and I've played with them. To me I think it's a privilege to be part of the history with them.

"I haven't won a major, but I don't regret anything. I feel satisfied to be part of all this, I feel so happy with that.

"I'm on the way back, I don't know for how long. To me I will keep competitive or in competition with the young people for as long as I can play well and win a tournament.

"But if I don't play well and just finish winning it's time to go."

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