Argentine wins open
Oakmont Country Club did not play as hard as some had predicted, but when the dust settled, only Angel Cabrera was left standing with a total score of five over par, one shot better than Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. For the 37 year old from Argentina, the U.S. Open Championship was his first victory on United States soil. For Woods, it was another time he has failed to win a major event when starting the final day from behind.
Woods played a fantastic round on Saturday as he hit the first 17 greens in regulation or better. In spite of having all those birdie putts, Woods made just two to go with one bogey for a 69. Saturday's round had 65 or better written all over it, but a plethora of barely missed putts left Woods two shots behind Aaron Baddeley. Baddeley's lead was gone after one hole in the final round when he made a triple bogey seven at one and Woods led by one.
While Baddeley was no longer a threat, Woods had to grind to stay atop the leader board, and ultimately his 72 was not enough as Cabrera posted a 69, then waited as Furyk made a bogey at 17 and Woods failed to get a birdie down the stretch to force a playoff.
Cabrera has been called Argentina's version of our own John Daly. Whether or not Cabrera carries all the baggage of Daly is not certain, but what Cabrera does have in common with Daly is an outgoing personality, some extra weight and he smokes about a half pack of cigarettes during the round.
The cigarette smoking became a hot topic on Monday's sports talk when it was suggested that smoking a cigarette could be construed as taking a performance enhancing drug. The reasoning was that the nicotine in the smokes would serve to calm Cabrera as the pressure of the Open mounted. Interesting that nicotine is considered a stimulant, but considered a calming drug by the knucklehead callers.
Actually, as a former smoker of cigarettes, I think a cigarette could help in a stressful situation like Cabrera's, but since they aren't illegal, what's the fuss?
An aside to this debate came when the golf detractors pointed out, using Cabrera as an example, that you do not have to be an athlete to be good at golf. This debate rages in sports, but my position is simple, you do not have to be a finely tuned athlete to play good golf, but to play at the highest level you need athletic ability. Obviously, if you were to work on being fit as well, your chance for success will increase, but Cabrera proves time in the gym doesn't guarantee success either.