Cabreras Masters win a validation for him and Argentina

By Rex HoggardApril 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
AUGUSTA, Ga. ' Somewhere south of the sprawling neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, perhaps hunched into his normal chair next to the large plate-glass window overlooking the first tee at Ranelagh Golf Club Roberto De Vincenzo must have been smiling. Like a scene from Field of Dreams, Angel Cabrera eased the aging mans pain with one of the most dogged major finishes since Nick Faldo stunned Greg Norman on this same slice of Georgia splendor.
 
Cabrera wasnt even born when De Vincenzo lost the 1968 Masters at the hands of a clerical error and, to be historically accurate, Argentinas loss is not nearly as acute as Australias seems to be over Normans multiple major misses.
 
Cabreras gusty blow-for-blow with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell was, by the Argentines own admission, not a quest to free a nations sporting psyche so much as a validation of the hard work the caddie-turned-world-beater has put into his game.
Angel Cabrera of Argentina celebrates his par-saving putt on the first sudden death playoff hole during the final round of the Masters. (Getty Images)

De Vincenzo had bad luck. He had a bad moment. It's not going to change what happened to him, said Cabrera, who grinded out a pair of crucial pars at Augusta Nationals 18th, first in regulation and then in a three-way playoff with Perry and Campbell, on his way to his second major title Sunday at the Masters. This win, to take back to Argentina, it's going to help a lot with our game.
 
That it likely lifted a burden that had been hanging over the 85-year-old patriarch of Argentine golf is only an agreeable happenstance. But the events are not mutually exclusive. Nor was one of the most explosive Sundays in Masters memory a chance happening.
 
Augusta National Golf Club wanted the roars back. Check. Players wanted a return of red numbers on the back nine Sunday. Check. And the fans wanted Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson going head-to-head on a Sunday in April. Check and mate.
 
The two-hole playoff and down-to-the-wire finish just seemed like piling on after an electrically charged week ended on a slightly sloppy note with Perry bogeying his final two holes in regulation to squander a late two-stroke lead and then missed both greens in extra innings to come up short, again, in a major.
 
Truth of the matter is this Masters had an embarrassment of storyline riches right from Arnold Palmers ceremonial opening blow. In one memorable week, the Masters bid farewell to Gary Player and Fuzzy Zoeller ' and probably Norman ' and wrapped up with a Sunday that was on the FBR Open side of raucous.
 
Silence is golden for libraries and break-ups, but not at the softer side of Augusta National.
 
The new Augusta National looked a lot like the older, shorter version ' fair but not for the faint of heart. There were a record number of under-par cards on Day 1 (38), Campbell flirted with scoring royalty when he got to 9-under 16 holes into his opening effort and Anthony Kim blitzed to 11 birdies in windy conditions on Friday that he said, would have been a 58, under normal conditions.
 
Despite the return of the roar, the more user-friendly edition of Augusta National will never be mistaken for the Bob Hope Classic east. Augusta National gave and the players took thanks to calm conditions and a calm hand by the pin setters, but there was still punishment to be had.
 
I heard a lot of noise today and didnt hear much last year, Steve Flesch said. I think the excitement of Augusta National is back from where its been the last few years.
 
Even Woods and Mickelson, paired together in the final round at the Masters for the first time since 2001, delivered ' albeit ahead of schedule. Playing from the pack, perhaps the only trick Woods doesnt have in his vast repertoire, the duo headed out an hour ahead of the leaders. By the time the uber-twosome reached the halfway house Mickelson was just two back and Woods was coming to life after an eagle at the eighth.
 
But the mountain, or maybe it was the men at the top, turned out to be too high for the world Nos. 1 and 2, and inevitably the outcome was always out of their hands. Lefty dumped his tee shot at 12 into the water and Woods batted his ball around the pines at the 18th. The two finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
 
Golfs alpha and omega played to a virtual tie, an 18-round no decision, but the jolt they provided to both patrons and players was palpable.
 
I was in awe of what they were doing in front of me. When I saw Tiger and Phil both get it to 10 under, I was like, wow, they must be having a lot of fun up there, Perry said. I was hoping to have a little boxing match (between Woods and Mickelson).
 
For Perry, this one will hurt more than that meltdown at the 1996 PGA Championship. This one was self-inflicted and largely avoidable. After not having marred his card with a bogey all day, Perry, who at 48 was vying to become the games oldest major champion, blocked his drive at the 17th into a pine. He played his next three holes, including the two OT editions, in 2 over par.
 
The man competitors in his mini-tour days dubbed lift and smash because of his unorthodox swing became the victim of nerves and bad decisions and, ultimately, a relentless Argentine.
 
I was young at Valhalla. Here, I thought I had enough experience, Perry said. I thought I had enough to hang in there, I really did.
 
But then the hardest part of Perrys night lay ahead of him. Ken Perry, at home in Kentucky with his ailing wife, taught his son to play the game the hard way, instilling a competitive fire that drove Perry to Ryder Cup perfection last fall at Valhalla.
 
The lessons have continued, with the older Perry driving his son to complete his career with a green jacket. All of which makes Sundays near miss a particularly wrenching blow.
 
I hope they are not too sad, an emotional Perry said. You know, Dad, he will try to pump me up if I know my dad. He just feels sorry for me. He just wanted me to win. I know it with all his heart, he wants the best for me just like I want the best for my kids.
 
De Vincenzo could certainly sympathize. But 41 years of reflection, and one can only imagine a long-awaited green jacket for Argentina, have helped ease the pain. During a interview with the Argentine last year at Ranelagh, De Vincenzos take on his Masters legacy was almost spiritual.
 
For 40 years it made me cry, but now it makes me proud, said De Vincenzo, who turns 86 on Tuesday.
 
Late Sunday evening after all the jackets had been doled out and the property emptied of patrons, Cabrera was joined in Butler Cabin by a large group of flag-waving supporters, including fellow Argentine Andres Romero whod completed his final round hours earlier.
 
He was a very happy champion. It was a very soccerish thing with people singing, Ola, ola, ola, ola . . . Pato, Pato, Pato, Pato, said Mark Lawrie, the executive director of the Argentine Golf Association. I dont know if (Augusta National chairman) Mr. Billy Payne could make out was going on in Butler Cabin. Nothing like that had happened in there before.
 
For De Vincenzo, it was a happening hed waited 41 years for.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.