Date: June 02, 2017
Author: Australian Golf Digest

Vale Argentine legend, Roberto De Vicenzo

Argentinian star Roberto De Vicenzo, an Open Championship winner famous for signing an incorrect scorecard that might have cost him a Masters victory, has died at 94.

De Vicenzo is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 1989 on the basis of 231 international victories, including eight on the US PGA Tour, his victory in the 1967 Open and his win in the inaugural US Senior Open in 1980.

But it was at the 1968 Masters that he made the news for which he might be best remembered.

He and American Bob Goalby completed 72 holes tied for first, but De Vicenzo, who had shot a 65 in the final round, signed a scorecard that added to 66. A four was entered as his score on the 17th hole, yet he had made a birdie three.

"What a stupid I am to be wrong here," he famously said, one of sports’ most enduring quotes.

De Vicenzo said that when countryman Angel Cabrera won the Masters in 2009, it "brought a few tears to my eyes … because I would have loved to have that jacket myself as well".

He likely would have won with greater frequency in the US had he travelled more.

"Of course, part of me would have liked to have won more major championships and been more famous," De Vicenzo said in 2006.

"But my character is more comfortable where I have no obligation. I was not like Palmer, or Nicklaus or Gary Player. I wouldn't like to be Tiger Woods. Their life has been one of work, of sacrifice, of leaving many beautiful things in life behind to dedicate to success. Yes, I played all over the world. But more in my own time."

On the European Tour alone, De Vicenzo won the French, German, Dutch Spanish and Belgian Opens, in addition to his Open Championship title at Royal Liverpool. In the latter, he defeated Jack Nicklaus by two shots to win the claret jug.

"Roberto De Vicenzo was not only a great golfer, but he was a great friend," Nicklaus said.

"I think the last time I was with Roberto, we were in Argentina, and it was only about three or four years ago. And we were with him and he always talked about how he said, I'm stupid, because what he did at the Masters that one year. He still talked about it – 40 years later he still talked about it.

"He was a nice man, nice player. We had only one time that we came down the stretch playing against each other, which I guess was the British Open in '67, I believe. That hole I ended up losing to him. I think he birdied 17 and I did not birdie 17. And then I didn't birdie 18. I think I may have bogeyed 18. But I don't really know what to say except that I think he represented his country. He represented the game of golf. He was one of the really good guys."

Cabrera paid homage to De Vicenzo via Twitter.

"A great sadness of Roberto de Vicenzo! No doubt Argentina and the golf today are mourning! Thank you for both master!" was his message translated.

According to writer David Mackintosh, a long-time friend, De Vicenzo began to decline a few weeks ago after falling and fracturing a hip.

A fixture for decades on the course and the practice tee at his home club, Ranelagh GC in Buenos Aires, De Vicenzo in the past few years had stopped playing golf.

"Roberto was goodness," Mackintosh said.

"All the way through. Everyone loved him."