This weekend at the Greenbrier Classic, Angel Cabrera won his second green jacket on the PGA Tour. It was not as prestigious as a Master’s green jacket, but it was still special for the Argentine, who was without a win on either the European Tour or the PGA Tour since 2009. It was only Cabrera’s third win ever on the PGA Tour, and the first in a non-major tournament. Previously Cabrera had won the Masters Tournament at Augusta National in 2009 and the 2007 United States Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Cabrera began the Greenbrier Classic with two rounds of 68 to sit at four under coming into the weekend. He then really turned up his play, characteristically bombing his drives for over 300 yards, hitting difficult iron shots and sinking a fair amount of putts. On the final round everything seemed to be going Cabrera’s way when he sunk an eagle from the fairway at the 13th hole to go three shots up on the clubhouse leader George McNeill. Cabrera continued to be aggressive in the following holes by hitting tough approach shots directly at the flagstick.
The choice to stay aggressive backfired on the 15th and 16th holes, which Cabrera bogeyed back-to-back, giving McNeill a sliver of hope. Angel Cabrera birdied the 17th though, to wrap up his first victory in five years time, and his second green jacket at The Greenbrier Classic. Like the Master’s at Augusta, the winner of Greenbrier receives a green jacket as well as trophy. Cabrera finished with back-to-back six under 64’s on the weekend to finish at -16, two shots ahead of George McNeill, who shot a final round 61. Sadly McNeill’s older sister, Michele McNeill passed away after a long battle with cancer on Sunday morning. George was not notified until after the round was over, and in an emotional press conference said, “it’s hard,” to talk about the tournament because “Golf doesn’t really mean a whole lot,” at the moment.
The Greenbrier Classic had a lot of good play happening, with eight golfers shooting below par in all four rounds, meaning rounds in the 60’s on the par 70 course. Those eight were the winner Angel Cabrera, Keegan Bradley (T4), Will Wilcox (T4), David Lingmerth (T16), Bubba Watson (T16), Patrick Cantlay (T23), J.B. Holmes (T23), and David Toms (T25). The tournament also featured Tom Watson, the captain of the United States Ryder Cup team in 2014. Watson finished tied for 35th and had a good opportunity to watch some of the gentleman he may consider picking as captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup. Both Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley are outside of the top nine guaranteed spots for the biennial men’s golf tournament between the United States and Europe. Simpson sits in 17th on the points list and Bradley is just one spot behind him in 18th. Both are thought to be in contention for a captain’s pick.
Also important in terms of qualification for majors, the leading four golfers who were not already exempt for the British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 17-20 now get an invitation to play in the year’s third major tournament. Those four players are Billy Hurley III, Cameron Tringale, Chris Stroud, and George McNeill. Cabrera automatically qualified for the Open Championship because he won the Master’s in 2009. It has been an incredible month for Argentinian sports with Manu Ginobli winning the NBA Championship with the Spurs, and Lionel Messi and the Argentinian National Team advancing to the semifinals of the FIFA World Cup, and Cabrera winning his first PGA Tour event in five years on Sunday. The Argentine, Angel Cabrera, will be looking to build on his confidence heading into next week’s major after winning his second green jacket at the Greenbrier Classic. His best finish before at the British Open Championship is tied for fourth in 1999 at Carnoustie.
By B. Taylor Rash