| ||Cabrera a Picture of Green|
2007 U.S. Open champion wins Masters in playoff
April 12, 2009
By David Shefter, USGA
Not long after winning the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.)
Country Club to become the first player from Argentina to win
that prestigious championship, fellow countryman Roberto De
Vicenzo gave Angel Cabrera a picture of a green jacket,
telling him that he had the game to win a Masters title.
|Angel Cabrera, shown with the 2007
U.S. Open trophy, became the first player from Argentina
to win the Masters. (John Mummert/USGA)|
Forty-one years ago, De Vicenzo committed one of the greatest
gaffes in major championship history when he signed for an
incorrect score, thus giving the 1968 Masters to Bob Goalby
instead of going to an 18-hole playoff.
For nearly four decades, South America waited for someone to
slip on a green jacket. The moment finally came Sunday at
Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club when the 39-year-old Cabrera
survived a two-hole playoff against Kenny Perry. Chad
Campbell also was involved in the sudden-death playoff, but
bowed out with a bogey-5 on the first extra hole (No. 18).
"This is a great moment, the dream of any golfer to win the
Masters," said Cabrera through an interpreter during the
green jacket ceremony. "I'm so emotional I can barely talk."
who learned the game as a young caddie in Cordoba
, joins Tiger Woods as the only two active PGA Tour golfers
with a Masters and U.S. Open title on their rÃ©sumÃ©.
Others to win both crowns in their career include Arnold
Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson,
Tom Watson, Gene Sarazen, Billy Casper, Cary Middlecoff,
Ralph Guldahl, Craig Wood, Fuzzy Zoeller and Raymond Floyd.
Hogan, Nicklaus and Cabrera are also the only three Masters
champions to have claimed a U.S. Open at Oakmont.
Late Sunday, it appeared Cabrera and Campbell were going to
fall a shot short, as the 48-year-old Perry had positioned
himself to become the oldest major champion in history with a
tap-in birdie at the par-3 16th hole. But Perry, who owned a
two-stroke lead through 70 holes, misplayed a pitch shot at
the par-4 17th that lead to a bogey. He then knocked his
approach shot at 18 from a fairway bunker left of the green.
His 20-foot par putt fell just off to the left, leaving the
Campbell, playing in the penultimate pairing, made pars at 17
and 18, while Cabrera, who had birdied the par-5 15th and the
par-3 16th, got up and down for par from behind the green at
17 and registered another par-save at 18.
"You know, it not easy out there trying to win," said
In the playoff, Cabrera, who was affectionately given the
nickname of "El Pato (The Duck)" from countryman and reigning
U.S. Senior Open champion Eduardo Romero, knocked hit his tee
shot on 18 into the trees right of the fairway. His recovery
attempt got a fortuitous bounce off a tree stump back into
the fairway and he executed a perfect third shot to within 8
feet of the hole.
Perry and Campbell both found the fairway off the tee, but
each missed the green; Campbell in a greenside bunker and
Perry just short and right. Perry nearly holed his chip shot
and tapped in for par, but Campbell's third went 5 feet past
the flagstick. He lipped out his par putt just after Cabrera
converted his to send the playoff to the 10th hole.
Both players found the fairway off the tee, but Perry
continued his late-round struggles with his irons, missing
left, leaving him a treacherous recovery. He failed on a
downhill 15-foot par putt. Cabrera, meanwhile, found the
front-left portion of the green and managed to easily
two-putt from 15 feet, tapping in an 18-inch putt to seal the
"I may never get this opportunity ever again, but I had a lot
of fun being in there," Perry told The Associated Press. "I
had the tournament to win. I lost the tournament. But Angel
hung in there. I was proud of him."
Perry, who carded a 1-under-par 71, went 22 holes without a
bogey until No. 17. Cabrera, who shared the 54-hole lead with
Perry and was paired in the final round with the Kentucky
native, also shot 71.
Phil Mickelson and nine-time USGA champion Tiger Woods
provided the early roars on Sunday, although both began the
final round seven strokes behind the leaders. Grouped for
only the second time at the Masters, Mickelson carded a
first-nine 30, while Woods, playing his first major since his
dramatic triumph on a wounded left knee in the U.S. Open last
June at Torrey Pines, made an eagle at No. 8 to shoot a 33.
But Mickelson found the water at No. 12 and made a
double-bogey 5 and missed a 4-foot eagle putt at No. 15. He
shot a 67 and finished three shots out of the playoff at
9-under 279. Woods birdied 13, 15 and 16, but made bogey-5s
at 17 and 18 and finished at 8-under 280.
David Shefter is aUSGA Digital Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions
or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.