Dubai: Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez will come back better than ever after last month’s skiing accident, according to his compatriot, Rafael Cabrero-Bello.
World No 65 Jimenez, 49, broke the top of his right tibia and had two pins inserted below the knee after a fall while skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalucia, southern Spain, two days before New Year’s Eve.
The accident came a month after he became the oldest winner in European Tour history with victory in Hong Kong, and the injury puts him out for the next five months at a time when his form was on the up.
He misses the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, an event that he’s previously had success at, winning it in 2010.
Last year’s winner, Cabrero-Bello, 28, said of Jimenez’ injury: “He’ll be fitter than ever when he comes back.
“We both have the same personal trainer and I am aware of how the progress is going.
“He’s making very good and fast progress, which is really good. Of course, he is disappointed not to be here, because these are courses he really likes, particularly this one where he’s won before.
“I’m just happy that his morale is very high and he’s working very hard to be back as soon as he can.”
World No 56 Cabrero-Bello had earlier mentioned Jimenez as one of Spain’s greats, on a par with Sergio Garcia, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I look at Miguel like he was a god, pretty much,” said Cabrero-Bello. “He’s one of the best pros with young guys I’ve met.
“I remember my first year on Tour and he’d just be so relaxed and humble. He came over and spoke with us, watched us hit balls.
“He’d spend 20 or 30 minutes of his time just giving us tips, but also trying to teach us stuff. For someone on their first year on Tour, it was unbelievable to have someone like him [to help].”
Jimenez joins 2011 Open winner Darren Clarke on the injury list ahead of this weekend’s Gulf Swing-concluding Desert Classic after he was involved in a minor traffic accident last week. The 44-year-old Northern Irishman’s manager Chubby Chandler said Clarke had sustained a neck injury in the smash and would sit out this week in time for the inaugural Pearl Golf Premier League, a 14-hole tournament, featuring eight teams of three men, at the Aamby Valley golf course in India.