Angel Cabrera Has Won Big by Losing the Masters

Fred Altvater@@tolohgolfrContributor IIApril 19, 2013

Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera share a moment at the Masters
Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera share a moment at the MastersMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Augusta National has returned to the peaceful, serene domain of the membership. The patrons and media have moved on to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage and can only look forward to revisiting the stately pines of the home of Bobby Jones next year.

A lasting image from the 2013 Masters was the sportsmanship that Angel Cabrera demonstrated in his loss. He has gained a tremendous amount of respect for the manner in which he handled the gut-wrenching loss.

Cabrera, 43, is approaching the back nine of his golfing career. He already has a green jacket in his closet and was perilously close to collecting a second one last week.

He also won the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont by one shot over Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods, but his chances of winning major championships in the future are dwindling.

The Argentine has won five events on the European Tourincluding his two major championship titlesand has another 42 victories in lesser events in South America and other parts of the world.

A win last week at Augusta National would have given him three major titles and guaranteed his induction to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

A win at the Masters would also have given him a five-year exemption into the majors and would have allowed him entrance into major championships until the age of 48.

There was a lot riding for this wily veteran, and he put his best efforts into attempting to win. With his son on the bag, children and even his grandchildren watching, he seemed to truly enjoy the competition and hit some magnificent shots in his final round.

When Adam Scott holed his birdie putt on the 72nd hole with Cabrera standing 160 yards away in the fairway to take a one-shot lead, he knew he had to make birdie to force a playoff.

Golfers look for the pure strike between club and ball. Rarely are they able to execute the shot that they visualize as successfully as Cabrera did on No. 18. His iron shot came to rest just three feet from the cup and he calmly stroked in the birdie to tie. It had to be a very special moment for Cabrera to accomplish that perfect shot.

Coming up short with his second shot at No. 18 in the playoff, Cabrera, once again, came very close to holing his chip shot that would have forced Scott to make his birdie putt or face elimination.

After missing his birdie putt on the second playoff hole at No. 10, Cabrera could only watch as Scott was able to hole his birdie putt for the win.

Throughout all of the drama and tension, Cabrera maintained his composure. He congratulated Scott with a hug and further complimented him in his post-round media interviews.

Scott and Cabrera have been teammates on Presidents Cup teams in the past. They have a mutual respect for each other, and it was exhibited during and after their final rounds.

Scott won his first major and is a very popular Masters Champion, but Cabrera gained a multitude of new fans around the golf kingdom.

He will be remembered as much for his class and grace in the loss as for his two previous major championship wins.

When Cabrera's phone rings later this year, it may be the World Golf Hall of Fame calling.