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The Day in Sports | COUNTDOWN TO 2000 / A day-by-day
recap of some of the most important sports moments
of the 20th Century: APRIL 14, 1968

His Masters Crown Wasn't in the Cards

April 14, 1999|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

What's the biggest blunder in sports history?

* Roy Riegels' wrong-way 67-yard run in the 1929 Rose Bowl?

* The Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees?

* Mickey Owen's dropped third strike in the 1941 World Series, the play that may have cost the Dodgers a championship?

World class foul-ups all, but there's another that ranks right up there.

Thirty-one years ago today, Argentine golfer Roberto de Vicenzo finished in a tie for the Masters championship and looked forward to a playoff the next day.

For 10 minutes, anyway.

Then the official scorers in the tent went over his scorecard and found his playing partner, Tommy Aaron, had written in a four for De Vicenzo on the 17th hole instead of the correct score, a three.

After the 18th hole, which De Vicenzo bogeyed, he glanced over the scorecard, didn't note the error, and signed it . . . and signed away a possible Masters championship.

A shank with a three-inch pencil.

Marketing people said at the time De Vicenzo signed away a possible million dollars in lifetime earnings when he signed that card.

So instead of a 277-277 tie, Bob Goalby wound up with the green jacket and De Vicenzo, who under the rules of golf had to count the four rather than the three he actually got, wound up at 278.

He blamed no one but himself.

"We are professionals and we should know the rules. It is my fault," he said.

Also on this date: In 1962, the Lakers won a playoff game in Boston, 126-121, thanks to 61 points by Elgin Baylor. . . . In 1967, the University of Tennessee awarded an athletic scholarship to its first black athlete, football player Albert Davis. . . . In 1967, Boston rookie pitcher Bill Rohr, from Garden Grove, came within one strike of pitching a no-hitter in his first major league game, but the Yankees' Elston Howard hit a two-strike, two-out, ninth-inning single.

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