AUGUSTA, Ga. -- No matter what happens this week at the Masters, it already has been a lucrative venture for Angel Cabrera. John Solheim, the CEO of Karsten Manufacturing, the good folks who make PING clubs, was under the tree behind the clubhouse Tuesday afternoon waiting for Cabrera to finish his practice round so he could give one of his company's star players a little present that is part of PING's corporate tradition.
Solheim opened up a thick wooden box, took out a piece of fine fabric and carefully unfolded a gold putter head inscribed: "Angel Cabrera U.S. Open Champion 2007." Anyone who wins a major championship with a PING putter gets a gold replica of the model they used. In Cabrera's case it was an Anser Redwood.
A normal putter head weighs about 13 ounces, according to Solheim, but this gold version tips the scales at 18 ounces. Gold was selling at about $913 an ounce on Tuesday, so you do the math. And as Solheim pointed out, the price of golf was even higher when the head was cast, putting its value at near $18,000.
Sylvia Cabrera, the champ's wife, wasn't forgotten either. John Solheim gave her a gold chain with a tiny gold version of the Redwood putter head. Being the U.S. Open Champion is the gift that keeps on giving. As one agent said, "When you can be introduced as the U.S. Open champion it's like going from being Elton John to being Sir Elton John." The title puts you in a whole new league.