The incorrect scorecard that cost Roberto De Vicenzo a Masters green jacket
BYChris Vivlamore | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,March 27th, 2018·
It is a scorer's cabin today. It was a scorer's tent in 1969.
But in 1968, it was a scorer's table.
The umbrella covered circular surface sat just yards behind the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club, an arm's length from packed patrons, in plain view. Misery had no place to hide.
That year -- and for history -- Roberto De Vicenzo's misery was on full display. The Argentinian lost the Masters on the most famous scoring error of all time 50 years ago and with it came the phrase "What a stupid I am."
De Vicenzo had finished his final round with a bogey. The final score left him with a tournament total of 11-under par after a birdie on the 17th gave him with the lead. He was convinced he had cost himself the tournament and would be headed to an 18-hole playoff the next day with Bob Goalby. While De Vicenzo sat and stewed, he didn't check his scorecard from playing partner Tommy Aaron. When prompted that he was wanted by the media, De Vicenzo hurriedly signed his scoreboard.
There was a problem. One big problem.
Aaron had marked the birdie on No. 17 as a 4, a par. Aaron soon discovered his error after signing his scorecard. But it was too late. Rules call for the highest score to be counted on a signed scorecard. De Vicenzo was ruled with a final-round 66, not a 65, and a final score of 10-under par, one stroke behind Goalby at 11-under par. The bad news was delivered by a rules official after meeting chairman Cliff Roberts and Bobby Jones.
De Vicenzo took full responsibility for the career-changing error.
"I have played golf for many, many years," he told reporters. "I have signed many cards and none of them wrong. All I can say is what a stupid I am to be wrong in this wonderful tournament."
Would De Vicenzo made the mistake had he been in a secluded spot? Perhaps. The following year, golfers were afforded a much more secluded place to attest their scorecards.
De Vicenzo did win a major tournament with the 1967 British Open. He would win 231 times worldwide and was elected to the Golf Hall of Fame in 1989. He died on June 1, 2017 at the age of 94. De Vicenzo never forgot about the error, often speaking about his regret.
Goalby told Golf Magazine in 2009 that "It was unfortunate for him. It was equally unfortunate for me because I never did get the credit."
Aaron won the 1973 Masters. Coincidentally, he corrected a scorecard error in the final round when playing partner Johnny Miller recorded a 5 and not a birdie 4 on No. 13.