Jimenez carries Ryder Cup injury into Portugal Masters

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Miguel Angel Jimenez hurt his ankle during the European Ryder Cup celebration.
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Associated Press

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Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 12:17 p.m.

Miguel Angel Jimenez will carry a painful legacy from Europe's Ryder Cup celebrations when he tees off at the Portugal Masters on Thursday.

The 46-year-old Spaniard twisted his right ankle in a pothole as jubilant European golf fans crowded the 17th green at Celtic Manor to celebrate Graeme McDowell's cup-clinching victory over American Hunter Mahan.

While nine members of the Europe team went straight on from Wales to St. Andrews to play in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Jimenez retreated to his home in Malaga.

And although he spent a week resting the ankle, he will be playing at the Oceanic Victoria Golf Club in Vilamoura with the aid of painkillers.

"With so many people around the 17th green I couldn't see the depression in the ground," said Jimenez, who could move to second place in Europe's Race to Dubai money list if he can complete his fourth victory of the season on Sunday.

"The first four days back home I kept my foot up on a couch and had it iced and was taking anti-inflammatories.

"But I did need that rest because I can't play the week after the Ryder Cup. It is so intense. And even though I have rested I still feel tired.

"I was so impressed to see Martin Kaymer go on and win at St. Andrews. I don't know how he did it or where he got his energy from."

Jimenez is being reunited with three others members of the Ryder Cup team in Portugal as the Italian Molinari brothers and England's Ross Fisher join the chase for the €600,000 ($837,000) first prize.

Last year's winner Lee Westwood was due to play but withdrew after aggravating his injured ankle in Scotland.

Meanwhile, at a European Tournament Committee meeting in Portugal on Tuesday, it was decided to increase from 12 to 13 the number of tournaments that players must enter in 2011 to comply with membership rules.

And for the first time, in a bid to satisfy existing sponsors and attract new ones, it will be mandatory for players to play in three events in Europe.

That clause will make it harder for U.S.-based Europeans to hold cards on both the Europe and U.S. Tours even though the four majors and World Golf Championship events in the U.S. will still count towards the 13.

In the past two years, U.S.-based players have been able to make up the numbers by entering desert tournaments in the Middle East and others in Asia without interfering with their FedEx Cup schedules.