x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A relaxed Jimenez joins race

A well-rested Miguel Angel Jimenez believes he is in perfect shape to defend his UBS Hong Kong Open title this week.

HONG KONG // A well-rested Miguel Angel Jimenez believes he is in perfect shape to defend his UBS Hong Kong Open title this week and make a strong start to the Race to Dubai. The Spaniard sat out the HSBC Champions last week - the first event on the 2009 calendar - to recuperate from a tiring yet productive European Tour. Jimenez, 44, started the last campaign with a victory in Hong Kong before securing a 15th career title at the BMW PGA Championship in May that opened the door for a return to the European Ryder Cup team

And after two weeks without lifting a golf club, he feels ready to return to the course where he won by a stroke last year. "It has been a long season with many long trips and, at the end of the year, your body feels tired," he said. "I took two weeks off after the Volvo Masters and decided not to play Shanghai but to recharge the batteries. Now it is my first tournament of the season for the Race to Dubai."

Jimenez's victory last year was his second in Hong Kong and he is now looking to become the first European to lift the trophy three times. "This is a place I have enjoyed coming to since my first time here in 2004, when I won," he said. "It is a nice golf course." Jimenez is joined in Hong Kong by a field that features major winners Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Jon Daly and Jose Maria Olazabal, who has been installed as one of the favourites to succeed Faldo as Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup captain.

Jimenez is confident the two-time Masters champion will captain Europe at some stage, but he thinks Olazabal would prefer at least one more chance to be on the team as a player. "First he would like to play again and that is the motivation for him," Jimenez said. * PA Sport