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Why Angel Cabrera will go down as one of the greatest pressure players of all time (Masters WITB 2009 & 2013)

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The 2020 Masters is finally underway, but one man intrinsically connected to the tournament is not in action: Angel Cabrera.

The 51-year-old who has been ever-present at the event since making his debut in 2000 is missing his first Masters tournament due to a wrist injury he underwent successful surgery on last month.

The Masters is an event which a litany of greats have failed to conquer, leaving a noticeable and painful gap in otherwise stellar careers: Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Lee Trevino, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, the list goes on. 

The mystique of the tournament intensifies the spotlight and pressure, for most that stress causes errors, for the rare few it helps them to shine. Angel Cabrera is one of those rare few.

The Argentine’s career has been fascinating. In 2005 he won the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW Championship, and then didn’t win again until a major breakthrough victory at the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. At that event, he stood tall to join an exclusive club who have outgunned Tiger Woods on the back nine of a major.

He did so by playing exceptional golf that Sunday, the only player in the top 10 to break par.

The win took him to 17th in the Official World Golf Rankings, but two years later he headed to Augusta National having slipped to 69th in the rankings and priced up as a rank outsider for the event at 150/1.

2009 Masters

At Oakmont in 2007, Cabrera had to fight off Tiger and Jim Furyk. At Augusta in 2009 it was Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell, and it was a Sunday where the Argentine was always on the back foot.

Cabrera trailed Perry by three with six holes to go, and despite two birdies in his next three holes, he was still down by two. On the 16th hole, the man known as ‘El Pato’ (‘The Duck’) struck his shot to 15 feet above the hole, while Perry hit the shot of life to kick in range for birdie.

Faced with a do or die putt, Cabrera answered the call.

From there, his American adversary felt the anxiety that comes with winning a green jacket. Two closing bogeys let Cabrera in, who poured in a slick 5-footer down the slope on 18 for par to secure his place in the three-man playoff.

On the first playoff hole, disaster struck for El Pato, when he found himself handcuffed in the woods after a wayward drive on the 18th hole.

Faced with needing to get up and down from the fairway to stand a chance of slipping on the green jacket, Cabrera once again answered the call in emphatic style. 

With just Perry remaining to defeat on the second playoff hole on one of the most challenging holes on the course – the 10th -, a stunning 8-iron sealed the deal after Perry hooked his approach to a devilish pin position.

The moment was too big for Kenny Perry. It was made for Cabrera.

Angel Cabrera 2009 Masters WITB

Driver: Ping Rapture (7.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila NV Proto

3-wood: Ping Rapture V2 (15.5 degrees)

Irons: Ping G10 (2),  Ping S57 (3-PW)

Wedges: Ping Tour-W 54 degrees, Ping Tour-W TS 60 degrees

Putter: Ping i Series 1/2 Craz-E Belly

2013 Masters

Four years on, Cabrera had done little else of note and arrived at Augusta ranked a lowly 273rd in the world. Like four years prior, Cabrera found himself in the mix, and once again his clutch-gene activated.

Fighting against a trio of Aussies – Scott, Day and Leishman – the man from Cordoba would once again step up in a monumentally big moment.

While Leishman and Day were faltering, on the 16th hole, El Pato saw only opportunity and faced with a lengthy putt underneath the hole, promptly rammed the ball into the back of the cup.

Then on 17, a hole where most players would bite your hand off for a four on a Sunday at the Masters, Cabrera wanted more, playing the hole supremely, and leaving himself a chance for what he felt could be a killer blow.

To this day, it still mystifies me how the ball didn’t move to the right as it ought to do.

From the fairway on 18, the then 44-year-old watched on as Adam Scott erupted with emotion after burying a birdie which he felt had given him his first major championship.

Like 2009, Cabrera’s hand was forced and he needed something special. What he did, was hit one of the best shots ever seen at Augusta National, striping an iron in the pouring rain to a couple of feet.

I asked my friend in Buenos Aires, what was said between Cabrera and his son on the bag, Angel Jr, as the shot was in the air, and this is how it went down:

Cabrera: Vuele! (Go/Fly) 

Angel Jr. Dejala Papi, deja (Leave it daddy, leave it.)

On the first playoff hole, Cabrera scared the hole with a birdie chip, and after trading pars on the hole, he made his way to the familiar tenth hole where his duel with Scott would come to a climax.

Both men hit excellent tee shots and approaches, and both were left with medium length birdie chances from almost identical distances. Cabrera got the nod to play first, and just as on 17, put a pure roll on the ball that looked destined to find the cup, but like on 17 the ball wouldn’t go down.

It was to be Scott’s time, who poured in his effort for his breakthrough major. 

The Argentine was gracious and honest in defeat. He may not have won the green jacket, but unlike greats who never got their hands on the green jacket, he went down while playing his best golf, hardly missing a shot.

“That’s how golf is. I came back and I had that chip on 18, I could have won it. But Adam’s a good winner. I would have been happier if I had won but he’s a great player.”

Angel is that rare breed whose game improves under the most intense of pressure. He is a predator, and one of the best pressure players of his generation. And if there is one player who I’d love to see in contention one last time on a Sunday at Augusta, Angel Cabrera would be at the top of the list.

Angel Cabrera 2013 Masters WITB

Driver: Ping G25 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 X

3 wood: Ping G25 (15 Degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 80X

Irons: Ping i20 (3), Ping S56 (4-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Wedges: Ping Gorge Tour 54, 58 and 62 Degrees
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Shea H

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: Angel Cabrera arrested on charges dating back to 2016 | Golf Equipments

  2. Pingback: Ángel Cabrera fue arrestado por un cargo anterior a 2016

  3. Pingback: Ángel Cabrera arrestado por cargos que se remontan a 2016

  4. Pingback: Angel Cabrera arrested on charges dating back to 2016 | Sport News 247

  5. Felipe

    Nov 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Cool piece comming from an argie. Angel is a national treasure. That shot on 18th under the rain was one of the best ever.

  6. Jack Nash

    Nov 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

    What I like about Angel is he just shows up, then contends. Lol

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19th Hole

Ian Poulter live streams Formula One during final round of RBC Heritage

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Ian Poulter isn’t afraid to do things his way on tour, and he exhibited that characteristic once again on Sunday at the RBC Heritage, as he live-streamed Formula One during his front nine.

We (or more accurately I) initially believed the Englishman was tuning in on the course to watch his beloved football side, Arsenal, who were in action at the same time, but on our Instagram, Poulter made it clear that it was, in fact, the F1.

 

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Following his round, the 45-year-old described his front nine as “the most relaxed ever”, and the multi-tasking appeared to work nicely, with Poulter going bogey-free over his opening nine holes on the final day.

Later in the day, on his Instagram stories, Poulter addressed the odd critic of this Sunday juggling act, telling his followers: “I was just doing what every other normal person does while they’re at work – and that’s watch live sport on their phones. So, I joined you.”

By all accounts, the race was a thriller too.

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19th Hole

Si-Woo Kim’s ‘birdie’ results in par and why he loses $100k if he breaks another club

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Saturday at the RBC Heritage threw up one of the most unusual moments you’re likely to see on the PGA Tour after a successful birdie putt for Si-Woo Kim resulted in a par.

On the second hole, Kim hit his birdie effort to within a breath of the cup. With the ball appearing to be still moving, the South Korean and playing partner, Matt Kuchar, watched intently for just under a minute before the ball finally dropped in the hole.

However, Kim’s joy was short-lived, as the wait exceeded the 10-second rule, meaning the ‘birdie’ resulted in a par.

 

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Playing partner Matt Kuchar pleaded the case for Kim’s birdie effort to stand with a rules official, Stephen Cox, arguing that the ball was still moving.

In Cox’ response, he told Kuchar: “in this situation, the rules are modified because you could argue that there comes a point in time that we’ve got to play that golf ball. And that’s why you put that time limit on it.”

“Absolute BS,” wrote Emiliano Grillo on the PGA Tour’s Instagram feed and the tour pro wasn’t alone in venting his frustration, with many golf fans left feeling that Si-Woo had been hard done by.

On the GolfWRX Instagram account, a user @thefern16 jokingly posted that: “After the putt dropped on, @siwookim_official snapped his putter out of principal.” in reference to the South Korean breaking his flat-stick in frustration during the Masters.

In response, Si-Woo said, “@thefern16 no more snapped club. I’m retired that”.

Kim then let GolfWRX into a potentially expensive agreement he has with Pat Perez, posting that he has agreed to pay his friend $100k if he breaks another piece of equipment in anger on the course!

 

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19th Hole

How much each player won at the 2021 RBC Heritage

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Stewart Cink rolled back the years at Harbour Town to secure his eighth career win on the PGA Tour, and it has earned the 47-year-old $1,278,000. Harold Varner III and Emiliano Grillo shared second place and will each take home $631,900 for their efforts.

With a total prize purse of $7.1 million up for grabs, here’s a look at how much each player won at the 2021 RBC Heritage.

1: Stewart Cink, -19, $1,278,000
T-2: Harold Varner III, -15, $631,900
T-2: Emiliano Grillo, -15, $631,900
T-4: Maverick McNealy, -13, $298,791.67
T-4: Corey Conners, -13, $298,791.67
T-4: Matt Fitzpatrick, -13, $298,791.67
T-7: Chris Kirk, 272/-12, $230,750
T-7: Collin Morikawa, 272/-12, $230,750
T-9: Russell Henley, 273/-11, $186,375
T-9: Shane Lowry, 273/-11, $186,375
T-9: Webb Simpson, 273/-11, $186,375
T-9: Cameron Smith, 273/-11, $186,375
T-13: Daniel Berger, 274/-10, $130,995
T-13: Brian Harman, 274/-10, $130,995
T-13: Sungjae Im, 274/-10, $130,995
T-13: Dustin Johnson, 274/-10, $130,995
T-13: Denny McCarthy, 274/-10, $130,995
T-18: Charles Howell III, 275/-9, $87,583.58
T-18: Abraham Ancer, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-18: Charley Hoffman, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-18: Matt Kuchar, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-18: Brian Stuard, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-18: Matt Wallace, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-18: Danny Willett, 275/-9, $87,583.57
T-25: Wesley Bryan, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Cameron Davis, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Tom Hoge, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Billy Horschel, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Tom Lewis, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Alex Noren, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Adam Schenk, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-25: Camilo Villegas, 276/-8, $52,273.75
T-33: Doug Ghim, 277/-7, $37,866.67
T-33: Lucas Glover, 277/-7, $37,866.67
T-33: Si Woo Kim, 277/-7, $37,866.67
T-33: Andrew Landry, 277/-7, $37,866.67
T-33: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, 277/-7, $37,866.66
T-33: Kevin Streelman, 277/-7, $37,866.66
T-39: Sam Burns, 278/-6, $30,885
T-39: Tyrrell Hatton, 278/-6, $30,885
T-39: Brendon Todd, 278/-6, $30,885
T-42: Branden Grace, 279/-5, $24,495
T-42: Scott Harrington, 279/-5, $24,495
T-42: Chase Seiffert, 279/-5, $24,495
T-42: Brandt Snedeker, 279/-5, $24,495
T-42: Michael Thompson, 279/-5, $24,495
T-42: Will Zalatoris, 279/-5, $24,495
T-48: Matthew NeSmith, 280/-4, $18,957
T-48: Ian Poulter, 280/-4, $18,957
T-48: Kevin Tway, 280/-4, $18,957

51: Rory Sabbatini, 281/-3, $17,821
T-52: Brice Garnett, 282/-2, $17,004.50
T-52: Mackenzie Hughes, 282/-2, $17,004.50
T-52: Ryan Moore, 282/-2, $17,004.50
T-52: Robert Streb, 282/-2, $17,004.50
T-56: Dylan Frittelli, 283/-1, $16,472
T-56: Kyoung-Hoon Lee, 283/-1, $16,472
58: Luke List, 284/E, $16,259
T-59: Harry Higgs, 285/+1, $15,975
T-59: Robert MacIntyre, 285/+1, $15,975
T-59: Sepp Straka, 285/+1, $15,975
62: Scott Piercy, 286/+2, $15,691
63: Lee Westwood, 287/+3, $15,549
64: Wyndham Clark, 288/+4, $15,407
65: Sung Kang, 289/+5, $15,265
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