Angel Cabrera clear to return to PGA Tour after prison, hopes to recover from ‘serious mistakes’

Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, released on parole from an Argentina prison in August for gender violence, has been cleared to play in PGA Tour-sanctioned events. He said in a Golf Digest interview he wants to clean up his image from “serious mistakes.”

Without confirming Cabrera was ever suspended — the PGA Tour does not publicize conduct violations — a tour spokesman confirmed the 54-year-old Argentine is eligible to play.

Cabrera, who won the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2007 and the Masters in a playoff in 2009, was imprisoned for two years for threats and harassment of Cecilia Torres Mana, his partner of two years. Her case was joined by that of another former partner, Micaela Escudero.

In a lengthy interview with Golf Digest published in the December-January edition, Cabrera said he was embarrassed by his behavior and said, “I made serious mistakes.”

“I refused to listen to anyone and did what I wanted, how I wanted and when I wanted,” Cabrera said. “That was wrong. I ask Micaela for forgiveness. I ask Celia for forgiveness. They had the bad luck of being with me when I was at my worst. I wasn’t the devil, but I did bad things.

“I am deeply embarrassed because I disappointed the people closest to me — and everyone who loves me through golf,” he said. “Golf gave me everything, and I know I will never be able to repay the debt I owe this sport.”

Golf Digest said Cabrera was undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction, including taking daily medication that causes sickness if he drinks. His longtime coach, Charlie Epps, said Cabrera was taking alcohol education courses for six hours a week.

In the interview, the 54-year-old Cabrera said he was trying to complete classes to graduate the sixth grade and had two months left when he was released on parole.

Epps said he asked Ping if it could supply Cabrera with a new set of golf clubs, which the coach took down to Argentina upon the release.

“I played with him for five days,” Epps said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “It’s a miracle that an uneducated, poor kid can look back and say: ‘OK, I did wrong. I’m going to learn from it and it’s all up to me now.’ He gets a second chance and he wants to try to take advantage of it.”

Cabrera played a tournament in Rosario, Argentina, last week and tied for 10th.

Augusta National did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he would be invited to the Masters, where champions have a lifetime exemption.

Golf Digest obtained a letter from the tour notifying Cabrera that his suspension was lifted effective Monday and that “failure to comply with the terms of your release from prison or any additional information regarding your legal situation in Argentina may result in the immediate reinstatement of your suspension.”

Cabrera has seven wins on main tours around the world, his last one at the Greenbrier Classic in 2014. He is best known for holding off Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk to win at Oakmont for his first major, and for his shot out of the trees on the 18th hole that led to a playoff win at the Masters over Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.

Cabrera was among inmates granted two-hour visits with partners every 15 days because of good behavior. Yamila Alvarez, his partner of four years, gave birth to a son in November 2022. They married in October after Cabrera got out of prison.

Cabrera said in the Golf Digest interview that being on the golf course again “felt like a rebirth” and that his hope is to return to the Masters.

“I’ve made serious mistakes, but I’ve also paid my debts,” he said. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to clean up my image. I want to recover the stature I had as an athlete.

“Golf is everything to me,” he said. “It’s my life. I have to continue.”


AP golf:

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