Ángel Cabrera is an Argentine professional golfer who plays on the European Tour. He is known affectionately as “El Pato” – “The Duck”.
When Cabrera was 10 he became a caddy at the Córdoba Country Club, which he says almost became his home. He learned golf playing against other caddies for money. His fierce determination and powerful swing soon caught the eye of members.
His first three visits to the European Tour Qualifying School were unsuccessful, but on his fourth trip in 1995 he qualified for membership of the European Tour. He retained his card comfortably in his first three seasons and improved substantially to tenth on the Order of Merit in 1999. He has since finished in the top 15 of the Order of Merit on seven occasions, with a best placing of fifth in 2005.
Cabrera’s first two professional wins came in Latin America in 1995, and his first European Tour win was the 2001 Argentine Open, which was sanctioned by the European Tour on a one-time basis that year.
In 2005 he won the BMW Championship, the most prestigious event on the European Tour schedule other than the majors and the World Golf Championships. However, it was only his third European Tour win, a tally which was perhaps disappointing given his consistent form on the tour.
Cabrera won his first major championship at the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont near Pittsburgh. He finished the tournament at 5-over, topping Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk by one stroke. Cabrera entered the third round as the leader at even par, after finishing the first round at 1-under, and shooting 1-over on the second day. He struggled during the third round, finishing 6 strokes over par, putting him 4 strokes behind the leader and two behind Woods.
Cabrera rebounded and came back strong on the last day. He birdied one of the longest par-3 holes in major championship history when he sunk a 20 foot at the 8th hole, which played at a lengthy 300 yards on Sunday. Cabrera finished one stroke under par, bringing him down to 5-over for the championship, just enough to secure his first career major victory.
Cabrera won the 2009 Masters Tournament in a three-way sudden-death playoff, sending Chad Campbell home after the first playoff hole, and besting Kenny Perry on the second. On the first playoff hole, the 18th, Cabrera missed right of the fairway, leaving his ball stymied directly behind a tree. On his second shot, he hit a shot right of the tree that would have sent the golf ball onto the 10th hole fairway, but ended up hitting another tree about 30 yards ahead, bouncing left and settling in the center of the 18th fairway. He and Perry both got up-and-down for par, while Campbell missed his 4 foot par putt and was eliminated.
On the second playoff hole, the 10th, Cabrera made par to defeat Perry, becoming the first Argentine to win the Masters. Cabrera and Woods are the only active PGA Tour members who have won both the U.S. Open and the Masters as of 2009.