Miguel Angel Jimenez gives Ben Crane a taste of his own medicine
What goes around comes around. If Ben Crane didn’t believe that mantra before he stepped on the first tee of Friday’s third round match with Miguel Angel Jimenez, he did once he the match was over. One day after he thrashed Rory McIlroy to the tune of 8&7, Crane learned what it was like to be in Rory’s shoes, as he received an old fashioned 7&6 butt whoopin’ from the 47-year-old Jimenez.
Only in match play can you be the headlines one day, and the goat the next. I think it’s what makes this tournament so special from the other non-majors on the tour schedule. Aside from being the only tournament that’s not 72-holes of stroke play, the match play event gives us a chance to see guys grind in an entirely different manner. As JB Holmes said after his round, the tournament gives the players a chance to play the guy across from them, as opposed to playing the entire field.
It would have been easy to bank on Crane to win on Friday — especially after the way he played the previous day. But as we’ve all learned, you can never bank on a guy being a lock in match play. Jimenez had been playing sub-par golf in his first two rounds before producing a clinic on Crane. Funny thing is Jimenez wasn’t even impressed with his performance: “… I didn’t play very well. We just play very well on the back nine,” Jimenez said, “didn’t play very well on the first nine.”
That’s the way match play goes; sometimes you can afford to take a nine off and turn up the heat on the back side — provided your opponent doesn’t show up for the entire day. With eight players remaining in the field, Jimenez is the oldest golfer by eight years, and the only one in his 40’s. Not bad for a guy who sports a ponytail and enjoys tuning up sports cars in his spare time.
I’m not sure if Jimenez can get past Martin Kaymer on Saturday. But based the many ways he’s won thus far — winning 7&6, and winning a match where an official birdie wasn’t posted until the 13th hole — there’s no reason to not expect an interesting performance out of the Ryder Cup veteran.