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1968: De Vicenzo signs for wrong score, Goalby wins Masters

March 22, 2012 - 10:01 pm
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1968 Masters

 PlayerFR1R2R3R4 Earn.
1Bob Goalby-1170707166 $20,000
2R. De Vicenzo-1069737066 $15,000
3Bert Yancey-971717265 $10,000
4Bruce Devlin-869736969 $7,500
5Frank Beard-775657170 $5,500
5Jack Nicklaus-769717467 $5,500
7Tommy Aaron-669727269 $3,460
7Ray Floyd-671716971 $3,460
7Lionel Hebert-672717168 $3,460
7Jerry Pittman-670737069 $3,460
7Gary Player-672677172 $3,460


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Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo was poised to battle Bob Goalby in an 18-hole playoff in 1968 when he got the sad news that he had signed an incorrect scorecard.

De Vicenzo, who had won the British Open the year before, was celebrating his 45th birthday that Sunday at Augusta. The galleries had serenaded him with Happy Birthday as he made his way around the course.

What could have been a joyous occasion quickly turned sour.

"I play golf all over the world for 30 years, and now all I can think of is what a stupid I am to be wrong in this wonderful tournament," De Vicenzo said afterward. "Never have I ever done such a thing."

Goalby made two birdies and an eagle on Nos. 13-15 to shoot 66 and finish at 11-under 277.

De Vicenzo made birdies at Nos. 15 and 17 before a bogey on the 18th left him with an apparent 65 and 11-under total.

While De Vicenzo was waiting for Goalby to finish, playing partner Tommy Aaron noticed De Vicenzo's scorecard total was 66. He pointed out the error to a Masters official, and a meeting was held in Bobby Jones' cottage off the 10th tee.

Aaron had marked De Vicenzo for 4 instead of 3 on the 17th hole.

Under the rules of golf, a player is responsible for the score on each hole of his card. Once a player has signed for his score, it must stand.

"It's a shame," Aaron said later. "He should've checked his scorecard."

Less than 30 minutes after Goalby had finished, the verdict came back in a statement from Hord Hardin, the president of the U.S. Golf Association and chairman of the Masters rules committee:

"Under the rules of golf, he (De Vicenzo) will be charged with a 66, which does not leave him in a tie with Bob Goalby, who is 11 under par. He is second, 10 under par."

If De Vicenzo had signed for a score that was lower than what he had made, the penalty would have been disqualification. De Vicenzo had to settle for second place and the silver medal that goes to the runner-up.

The Masters instituted new procedures for players to check their cards in privacy.

"The best thing is we now have a little building to go into," Goalby said. "At the time, all we had was a little picnic table where press could get to you early. Now they can't do that."

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