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Angel Cabrera fought his way from the barrio to the U.S. Open

He would like his sons to have a little of his old hunger, but how can they? As a kid Cabrera stole horses if he wanted to go riding. Federico, 18, and Angel, 16, have two country houses to choose from if they want to ride their own horses. Both boys are also serious golfers, and Federico especially is considered a big-time talent. Though he gives away some 30 pounds, he occasionally outdrives his dad. "If I let him," Angel says with a smirk. In 2006 Federico played in the U.S. Publinks and two weeks ago journeyed to Miami for a U.S. Amateur sectional but failed to qualify. As for whether he'd like to see Federico follow in his footsteps, Cabrera says, "He's the owner of his own destiny." He doesn't voice the biggest knock on his son, but Federico's close friend Herman Tagle, the younger brother of Cabrera's agent, is more blunt: "Federico is pure talent, but he's lazy."

That may explain why Angel insists that his sons tee it up every Monday at the club with the caddies, where the soft, spoiled progeny of a U.S. Open champ are forced to match the intensity of grown men playing for their supper. It is also a chance for the boys to appreciate their father's old life. Every now and then they run into their uncles Patricio and Guillermo, whom Angel left behind long ago.

When the FedEx Cup playoffs begin next week, Cabrera will be happy to be there, unlike some of golf 's other stars. Because of the travel hassles that come with living in Villa Allende, Cabrera likes to go on the road for three- or four-week bursts, so the quartet of playoff events is ideal for him. If he survives the weekly cut and plays in all four tournaments, it will allow him to fulfill the minimum of 15 events necessary to retain the PGA Tour membership that he claimed in 2006. But while the U.S. Open victory has opened up the world to Cabrera, his home base will remain the European tour, not surprisingly, because that is where he feels most at home. Of the proposition of playing full time in America, he says, "I don't think I could adjust to the lifestyle."

At 42nd in the point standings, Cabrera is a long shot to win the FedEx Cup, although he's so streaky you can never count him out. He is less concerned with the details of a clunky points system than he is with simply making a strong showing in four important tournaments. Before the U.S. Open, Cabrera was considered an extravagantly talented underachiever, lacking only self-belief. "Now I know I can win anything," he says, and he is eager to get started.

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