PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Ignorance is bliss

April 11, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A couple of international players for whom English isn't their first language -- Argentine Angel Cabrera and Shingo Katayama of Japan -- are high on the leader board as the third round of the Masters gets under way in earnest. Cabrera was in third place after 54 holes, with Katayama a few strokes further back.

What's it like when there is a language barrier for a player in the heat of battle? Not all bad, according to Cabrera's countryman, Roberto De Vicenzo. The 1967 British Open champion and most decorated golfer in South America history, De Vicenzo said it often worked to his advantage.

"It's an odd thing when you play golf in a second language," De Vicenzo said earlier this year. "You tend to think that everything around is happy, harmonious, no acrimony at all. Maybe there is [discord], but if you don't understand, and voices aren't raised, you are often more at ease than where surrounded by your own language, where you are always acutely aware of every little thing that is going on. Playing in a second language can be very peaceful."

-- *Bill Fields *