1. You can’t overestimate the importance of grit
Angel Carbrera might not have a perfect golf swing, but he knows how to win. Growing up in Cordoba, Argentina, he dropped out of school at age 10 to become a caddie, and participated in street fights to help put money in his pocket. At the end of the day, he is a grinder with an incredible will to win. He has now contended in 4 major championships and won two of them. He shows up big when the moments are the biggest, and no moment is a better example than his second shot on the 72nd hole at this years Masters. Needing a birdie to force a playoff with Adam Scott, Cabrera stuffed his approach shot to 3 feet and made the putt. On the first playoff hole, he was fractions of an inch from jarring his chip shot for birdie. On the second playoff hole, his birdie putt missed fractionally again on the high side of the hole. In each big moment, Cabrera was as gritty as they come. At 43, he is as fierce a competitor as there is in the game and if he’s near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday at a major, he’s got a good shot of walking away as the champion on determination alone.
2. Always demonstrate class
One of the coolest and least known moments of this years Masters occurred on the second playoff hole after both players had hit from the fairway. Cabrera just hit his approach to 12 feet, and Scott responded by knocking his just inside of Cabreras’ ball. As the two players strolled up the fairway toward the green, Cabrera turned back to Scott and gave him a thumbs up, nice shot. Scott returned the gesture with a thumbs up of his own. In a simple moment of respect, two players with everything on the line in a career-defining moment demonstrated a sense of class that simply doesn’t exist in other sports. The respect continued after Scott had made the winning birdie putt. The two players hugged and Cabrera congratulated the champion on his effort. Even in defeat in the biggest tournament in the world, Carbera demonstrated incredible class and humility.
3. That’s Golf
Cabrera didn’t lose The Masters this year – Adam Scott simply won it. Down the stretch, he hit every shot exactly how he wanted and came dangerously close to putting on his second green jacket on Sunday evening. If he could replay those same shots again, maybe they’d hit a different few blades of grass and the ball would find the cup. He gave it his best effort and lives with the results. “That’s golf,” Cabrera said. “Golf gives and takes. Sometimes you make those putts, sometimes you just miss them.”