Argentina’s Angel Cabrera is welcome to return the Masters, with one big catch.
In order to officially receive his invite and play in the men’s major in April, he first must obtain a visa, said Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley.
Speaking during a press conference at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Panama, Ridley was asked about whether Cabrera, who won the Masters in 2009 and is currently listed on the tournament website as a non-invited past champion, would be given a spot in the field as is custom to past champions.
“Angel certainly is one of our great champions,” Ridley said in one of the first questions posed to him. “As we all know, he has been unable to participate in the Masters the last couple of years due to legal issues. Presently we have been in constant contact with Angel’s representatives. He presently is not able to enter the United States. He doesn’t have a visa, and I know that that process is being worked through. We certainly wish him the best of luck with that, and we’ll definitely welcome him back if he’s able to straighten out those legal issues.”
The 54-year-old Cabrera, who served 30 months in prison in Brazil and Argentina and last played the Masters in 2019, had his visa expire this month but is attempting to regain his ability to be permitted entry to the U.S. and elsewhere.
“While competing in the Masters again is a dream, securing a visa is Angel’s priority at the moment so he can resume his professional career,” his manager, Manuel Tagle, wrote in an email to Golfweek. “We are working on getting an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. Probably early March as his visa has expired January 2024.”
Cabrera is set to make his return to PGA Tour Champions at the Trophy Hasan II from Feb. 22-24 at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco. Cabrera doesn’t need a visa to travel to Northern Africa to play there. The PGA Tour Champions previously said his suspension had been uplifted and he was welcome to play there.
“He’s been gone for three years and served time in jail and had time for personal reflection,” PGA Tour Champions President Miller Brady told Golfweek. “It’s a bit like Jim Thorpe, who spent time in jail (for tax evasion) and was welcomed back. It’s a little different. I don’t know if he can travel in the United States because he needs a visa. I think guys forgive. I’m not sure if spouses will forgive, that’s the bigger question. But he…