Declaring the results of the 1968 Masters “a travesty of justice,” Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne says the club has retroactively awarded the Green Jacket to Roberto DeVicenzo.
In the 1968 tournament, DeVicenzo made a birdie on the par 4 seventeenth, but Tommy Aaron, his playing partner accidentally entered a 4 instead. DeVicenzo did not check the card before signing it, and under the rules of golf, the higher score had to be counted. If the correct score had been counted, DeVicenzo would have faced Bob Goaly in an 18 hole playoff the next day.
A meeting was held in Bobby Jones’ cabin, but in the end, there were no rules to fix the problem. If he had signed for a score lower than he earned, he would have been disqualified. By signing for one higher, he had to accept the score.
“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. “Never have I ever done such a thing.”
Payne said that the slate of recent rules miscues also prompted the club’s board of directors to examine ways to make the game of golf more fun. This is just the symbolic beginning of our movement, Payne said. The club also intends to restore the original tees at Augusta, and to push for changes to USGA and R&A rules increasing the ball cup size by two inches.
“We remember the excitement generated by Tiger’s chip in from off the green in at the 2005 tournament, and think that a larger hole would allow more people to replicate that shot,” Payne said.