Cabrera K Club bound

From Brian Keogh in Pittsburgh

Cigarette-smoking US Open champion Angel Cabrera will not stub out his fire in Europe.

The big-hitting Argentinian, 36, vowed that he will be at the K Club for next month's Smurfit European Open to repay his Irish fans.

Cabrera said: "I am a European Tour player and I will be in Ireland for the Smurfit European Open of course.

"I have always had a lot of support in Ireland just because I am the US Open champion doesn't mean I am going to start playing in America all the time now."

The man from Cordoba became Argentina's first major champion for 40 years and soared from 41st to 17th in the latest world rankings.

And he did it with a cigarette between his lips with Tiger Woods and the rest of the world's best breathing down his neck.

He joked: "There are some players that have psychologists, sportologists; I smoke.

"What brand? I don't want to say the brand but they are short 72s, they are called, short cigarettes.

"I usually smoke between eight to ten cigarettes in a round and this round was not special about the number of cigarettes; it was more or less the same."

Cool customer Cabrera carded a final round 69 to finish one stroke clear of Woods and Jim Furyk on five over par and then faced a nervous wait to see if they could catch him.

Neither player could manage it and Cabrera became the first player from Argentina to win a Major since Robert de Vicenzo took the Open at Hoylake in 1967.

Modestly, though, he does not believe that he will become an inspirational figure in the same mould or even knock basketball star Manu Ginobili off the front pages.

Ginobili recently won his second NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs and is a massive star in Argentina.

Cabrera said: "I don't want to compare because comparisons sometimes are not so good. But the good thing is that I beat everybody here, not only Tiger Woods.

"Ginobili is still going to be there on the front pages because he has accomplished things that no other Argentine has.

"What I have done has already been done by DeVincenzo, so what he has done will be more recognized. "

Born to a poor family, Cabrera left school when he was 10 to become a caddie and received financial backing from Eduardo Romero during his early years on tour.

Romero paid Cabrera's expenses and received 10 percent of his winnings until the arrangement came to en end in 2004.

Cabrera said: "I haven't been around Eduardo, but I am definitely sure that he's very happy about this win, and, well, he's a very close friend of mine.

"I started as a caddie when I was ten years old in Cordoba Golf Club, my home club, and they allowed caddies to play on Mondays, when I started playing golf, and I turned pro when I was 20 years old.

"I wasn't able to finish elementary school. Also, I had to work as a caddie to put some food on the table, so that's why probably these moments are enjoyed even more than the common things."

European Tour players such as England's Paul Casey believe Cabrera is going to go on and become a massive star despite his shyness.

Casey said: "It’s fantastic for Cabrera. To shoot under par in one of the final groups, I know there was an under par earlier, but the greens really got fast and difficult. it is a great round of golf he has played.

"The European Tour will take great a lot from that. Our Tour is extremely strong and we have some great players. The Europeans will break through shortly, I keep saying that and hope it will happen soon.

"But Cabrera is a European Tour player and he has been around for a long time and thoroughly deserved this."

Casey refused to concede that the Argentinian was a surprise winner, adding: "He has won big events in Europe. He has won our BMW Championship at Wentworth. He is a formidable player. Nothing fazes him.

"He is quiet on the outside, but he is a great ball striker with a great touch. He has everything you need.

"He is just not a superstar because he doesn’t jump and shout about it but just goes about his business. He is bound to be a superstar after this though."