Mickelson and Tiger took center stage for much of the day, but it was self-taught Argentine Angel Cabrera who stole the show at the Masters.
In 2007, as he walked up the 18th hole at the U.S. Open with the lead, smoking a cigarette and laughing with his caddy, it was clear this was not your usual golfer.
Cabrera’s rise to the top is a remarkable one. Cabrera learned the game as a caddy at the Cordoba Golf Club in Argentina. Relying on financial support from the club’s members, he began playing on local tours around the country. It was not until Argentinean legend Eduardo Romero decided to take him under his wing that Cabrera was able to leave the country to play on the European Tour in 1996.
13 years later, with two majors under his belt, Angel Cabrera’s life is the ultimate success story.
His performance on Sunday was no less extraordinary. Cabrera and Perry were tied for the lead at 11 under par heading into the final round. Perry, the consummate southern gentleman, and Cabrera, the former caddy, could easily be considered polar opposites, but the two found themselves neck-and-neck on the closing stretch.
Perry hung on all day before faltering with two bogeys on the final holes to finish at 12-under. Cabrera also finished at 12-under with three bogeys and four birdies. When 2008 Ryder Cup member Chad Campbell shot a closing round 69, there was a three-way tie for the lead.
After the opening tee shots of the sudden-death playoff on 18, Cabrera didn’t seem to stand a chance. The 39-year-old sent his drive slicing into the right woods while Campbell and Perry split the fairway. But Cabrera battled his way back even after his second shot found another Georgia pine. After a great recovery and an 8-foot putt for par Cabrera suddenly was headed to the second playoff hole with Perry after Campbell dropped out with a bogey. Riding the momentum, Cabrera made a textbook par on the long par-four 10th hole to overtake Perry and earn his first green jacket, becoming the first South American to win multiple major tournaments in the process.
E-mail Jack Pollock at [email protected]