Charlie Epps dishes on former student Angel Cabrera and why the two-time major winner is serving time in an Argentine prison

Angel Cabrera of Argentina uses a rangefinder as his coach Charlie Epps looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 13, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Officially, Charlie Epps retired from traveling the PGA Tour with Angel Cabrera in 2016 after the U.S. Open at Oakmont. But as Epps, 76, put it, he’s never stopped loving his friend known to many as “El Pato,” the duck for his gait and walk, or as Epps would call him “Gordita,” the chubby one!

Cabrera, the 2007 U.S. Open champ and 2009 Masters champ, is 52 and should be cleaning up on PGA Tour Champions, a second act of one of the most remarkable rags to riches stories in all of sports.

“This kid was poorer than poor,” Epps said. “He came from nothing.”

But the story has taken a turn for the worse. Instead of being hailed for a borderline Hall of Fame career, Cabrera is serving time in prison in his native Argentina after being convicted on charges he “assaulted, threatened and harassed Cecilia Torres Mana between 2016 and 2018.” He faces a total of six other domestic violence-related charges and at least one other former partner of his is alleging he committed similar behavior, according to Reuters. He has been in jail since January when Brazil’s federal police arrested him on an Interpol warrant. He had been on the “red list,”which is used to seek the arrest of a person wanted by a legal jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to extradition. Cabrera last competed on the Champions Tour at the Pure Insurance Open in September 2020.

Epps spoke exclusively to Golfweek at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas, where he serves as president of the Spirit Golf Association, and conducted the Spirit International last week.