Argentina’s Angel Cabrera deserves every plaudit he receives for his Masters win. In particular, it’s his humble background that is so fascinating and also so inspirational to many journeyman pros out there. This is no son of a golf pro nor a man born with the natural golfer’s body shape or the swing of a Hogan.
Angel learned the game after being a caddie from the age of 10 and, after showing enough potential to receive financial support from Eduardo Romero, he decided to turn pro at the age of 20. He then struggled to even get on the European Tour – he missed out at Q School three times (1992-94) before getting a Tour Card in 1995 aged 26.
There was still no instant success and he won only three times on Tour in the next decade, the first being the Argentinian Open in 2001. He took the US Open title in 2007 and his Masters win is actually his only win since that first major. The Masters win is also his second victory in America – both titles are majors!
Angel is rightly described as one of the most generous men on the Tour; he gives plenty of dollars and euros to children back in Cordoba, his home town, which shows he has not lost touch at all with his roots.
In fact, him and Kenny Perry are among the nicest guys in pro golf. I don’t know if you saw the CBS interview with the Kentuckian afterwards (I’m writing this from the USA), but Perry proved to be one classy guy. When he said how he never wants rivals to play badly “because I know how hard it is out there”, I thought that was a perfect example of what golf is really all about. Plus he sincerely congratulated Cabrera after his first playoff hole par.
Chad Campbell, by contrast, could hardly string two sentences together in an interview after the playoff. I know it’s tough in these moments, but he did nothing to change my image of Texans.
Now Angel has two majors and is living proof that you don’t have to be a protege or a multi-award winning amateur to become a great golfer. There are a few journeyman golfers still not even on Tour who should look at his story and continue to hope.
Ross Biddiscombe is the author of Golf On The Edge: Triumphs & Tragedies Of Q School which is available at golfontheedge.co.uk.