Miguel Angel Jimenez brings ‘cool’ to Gwinnett

There is no device known to man that can successfully measure the Miguel Angel Jimenez cool quotient.

What can you say about a man when Cinco de Mayo celebrates his birthday? Or when former Kentucky Derby winners are envious of his ponytail? Or whose pillow is cool on both sides?

Such is the allure of the most interesting man in golf, a 51-year-old who makes paunch fashionable and goes through an exotic warm-up ritual that causes pole dancers to blush. When it comes to comparing Jimenez with other perceived cool golfers, guys like Fred Couples are poseurs.

Jimenez brings his European aura back to town this week to defend his title at the Greater Gwinnett Championship at the TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth. It was here a year ago that the Spaniard made his debut on the Champions Tour and won. Naturally.

“Always it’s nice to defend the title,” Jimenez said. “I’ve been coming to this golf course for many years, I think for the BellSouth before, no? I know this place pretty well. It’s nice to come back and defend my title and enjoy it as much as I can.”

He won that 2014 debut on the 50-plus circuit and was barely out of the scorer’s trailer before lighting up one of his favorite Cohibas to enjoy the victory. Then they didn’t see him on the Champions Tour for the rest of the year.

Jimenez spent the rest of the season playing the majors, but missed the cut at the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. He played primarily on the European Tour and won the Hong Kong Open and the Spanish Open. He was vice captain of the victorious European Ryder Cup team.

This year he will spend more time on the Champions Tour. He played the Masters last week, but missed the cut. This will be his third event on the Champions Tour; he won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii, tied for 22nd at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic and ranks fifth on the money list.

He is trying to determine how to divide his playing schedule, as well as parse his growing design business. He has projects in the Czech Republic, Austria, the Dominican Republic and Spain, including one in his hometown of Malaga.

“I still want to play on (the PGA and Champions) tours,” he said. “I feel like I’m competitive. Now, with the age that’s coming, I have to divide my time a little bit more for a couple more years. We’ll see.”

But with a new wife — he married longtime girlfriend Susanna Stybio last May — and a passion for the good life, golf fans are likely to see Jimenez around for several more seasons. Those fast cars, such as his favorite red Ferrari, and those rich Spanish wines he prefers, can’t be purchased at Big Lots.

In the meantime he’ll continue to pursue the trans-Atlantic dream, stopping long enough for fans to see if his cologne really smells like a $170 bottle of Roda Cirsion.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s tough because it’s always with the time change. You have to work it out, especially when you go from the West Coast to the East. It takes more time to recover. You spend so many hours on airplanes. … It’s not very good.”

Jimenez will be tested this week by a strong field that includes 2013 Greater Gwinnett champion Bernard Langer, Champions Tour money leader Bart Bryant and Mark O’Meara, the 1998 Masters champion who made the cut at Augusta last week at age 58.