Angel Cabrera may have been released from prison for gender violence, but he is still guilty and in my opinion should not be allowed to swap an orange jump-suit for a green jacket.
Those in Cabrera’s inner circle have said that he has ‘learned his lesson’ but golf cannot risk reintroducing him into a space that has spent the last few years trying to be seen as a safe inclusive environment for everyone.
The two-time major winner from Argentina was released from prison in August after serving a 30-month sentence in one of Argentina’s most infamous jails for gender violence against two of his ex-girlfriends.
Cabrera’s last competitive round was in 2020 at the Champions Tour’s Pure Insurance Open and he plans to revive his seniors career.
“He wants to play, he’s learned his lesson, he wants to get on with his life. I think he’s in a great frame of mind for what he’s been through,” Cabrera’s friend Charlie Epps told Golfweek. “He’s got to go through the mechanics of getting his Visa back and then approach the PGA Tour, and I think it’s going to end up being good.
“The way Angel plays on hard courses, I think he can still win the U.S. Senior Open,” Epps said. “I want him to be the comeback player of the year.”
The 54-year-old spent more than two years behind bars after being arrested in January 2021 by Brazilian federal police and he was sentenced to two years in prison that July.
Following that case, Cabrera went to prison for similar charges against ex-girlfriend Micaela Escudero in November last year.
Cabrera pleaded guilty and the court issued concurrent sentences for his previous charges resulting in a sentence of three years and ten months, although he served just over two years before being released on parole.
Even if he was granted the opportunity to come back to the Senior circuit, the PGA Tour Champions is played almost exclusively in the United States where Cabrera would have to reapply for a Visa with some difficulty one would imagine.
He would also have to contact Augusta National to see if they will honour his lifetime invitation and allow him to play in the tournament next year, having won a green jacket in 2009.
Golf has made huge strides in terms of inclusivity but re-engaging Cabrera into this sphere could be a PR disaster considering the sport still struggles with almost pre-historic misconceptions of being upper class male dominated.
By virtue of the crimes Cabrera was found guilty of, the once affable Argentinian has surely sacrificed his right to be welcomed back to professional sport and enjoy the privileges that come with it.
Allowing him back would be a slap in the face to his victims and those who suffer in silence from domestic violence, both male and female.
Cabrera’s conviction and imprisonment brought his ex-girlfiend Torres Mana initial “peace and relief” but she still lives in fear: “I am still afraid. I cannot be completely free or calm, knowing what kind of person he is and the threats he made.
“I believe my family and I are still at risk.”
During the trial, Cabrera admitted to battling alcohol addiction and had been receiving treatment while he was very well behaved during his stint behind bars.
Hopefully he has overcome his demons and has recovered from alcoholism but sympathy in those circumstances cannot take away from the fact that he is guilty of vicious crimes against women and should not be allowed to swan back into his lucrative sporting career.
Would members of a golf club want someone like him to come back?