It's Duck Season On The PGA Tour!
By Torleif Sorenson on 7/7/14

Argentina's most successful professional golfer is Ángel Cabrera, known affectionately as El Pato (English: "The Duck"). He has won only twice on the PGA Tour, but those two victories are the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters Tournament. In regular tour events, Cabrera has not fared particularly well.

(Good thing the U.S. Open and the Masters come with nice, long exemptions, eh?)

On Sunday, Cabrera was one mighty duck, besting George McNeill's eye-popping 9-under-par 61 with a 64 by two shots. Helping Cabrera in this case was that he started the round only two shots being third-round leader Billy Hurley. After two clutch birdie putts at aa and 12, Cabrera nailed a very fortuitous eagle from 176-yards out at the 13th hole. That gave him a three-shot lead that he needed, since he sputtered with bogeys at 14 and 15. In the end, he got the job done. Through an interpreter, coach Charlie Epps, Cabrera expressed both relief and his satisfaction in "the big dog":
"This was a great opportunity. I wanted it. I needed to win a tournament. I felt under control today out there, and I didn't want to let it get away from me.

"The big thing was the drive today. It was good all week long. It made the course play a little shorter for myself, but it was definitely my driver."
Since Sunday evening, several other writers have pointed toward Cabrera being halfway to a career Grand Slam, no doubt because "El Pato" expressed confidence on his way to Royal Liverpool in two weeks:
"I've been confident with my golf swing, and I feel confident mentally. I'm just going to go over there and play, and it's a very important tournament and it's a different tournament, but I'm going to go play.

"The truth of the matter is I just had a great week, and I've just been working very hard to get to this moment, and I'm very, very happy."
In stark contrast, George McNeill was not happy at all — but not because he lost by two shots. Following his round, he learned that his oldest sister Michelle had died Sunday morning at age 46, following a battle with breast cancer.
"She passed at 11:35 this morning. When I was out there, I had no idea what was going on. But when I talked to (my family) this morning, they said it's going to happen soon. They said it might be the next couple of minutes, it might be the next couple of hours, but it's going to happen soon.

"I was out there with that all day. Then when I finished up, I talked to my mom and she told me.

"Golf doesn't really mean a whole lot. So it's hard."
Between the "everyman" character of George McNeill (about whom we first told you 18 months ago) and his ability to focus on the work at hand, he is one admirable man. And while a third PGA Tour victory will not erase the pain of losing a close family member, this writer certainly would like to see that third victory come soon.

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[ comments ]
joe jones says:
Cabrera was my favorite to win the U S Open at Pinehurst. He was not a factor. This victory at Greenbriar may indicate that he is peaking just in time for the British Open at Hoylake.I would love to see him in contention. It's a pleasure to watch his classic golf swing and how unpretentious he is. One more major may be all he needs to qualify for the hall of fame.
mjaber says:
Shortly after reading this, Cabrera was heard muttering "es la temporada del conejo"
[ post comment ]
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