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Roberto De Vicenzo


Considering he is the greatest golfer ever from South America, it is unfortunate that Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo is best remembered for his scorecard blunder that cost him a chance to win the 1968 Masters.

The globetrotting De Vicenzo won somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 tournaments around the world, including eight in sporadic appearances in the U.S.

The one that got away came in Augusta in 1968 on De Vicenzo's 45th birthday, when he shot a magnificent 65 in the final round to apparently tie Bob Goalby for first place.

But fellow competitor Tommy Aaron had marked a 4 instead of a 3 for De Vicenzo on the 17th hole, and the Argentinean signed the incorrect scorecard. Once De Vicenzo signed the card, he was stuck with the 4 on the 17th for a total of 66 and a second-place finish.

Three weeks later, he won the Houston Champions International.

De Vicenzo's history at the British Open came to a better end, though for a long time it seemed he was destined to be a perennial also-ran there. In his first three attempts -- in 1948, 1949, and 1950 -- he finished third, second, and third.

He went on to also place third in 1956, 1960, and 1964. Finally, in 1967, De Vicenzo won the event at Hoylake, finishing two strokes ahead of Jack Nicklaus, to become the oldest British Open champion of the 20th century (at age 44).

For good measure, he added yet another third in 1969.

De Vicenzo started humbly as a caddie's assistant at a course near his home in Buenos Aires. He quickly showed a talent for the game, and at 21 he won the Argentine Open and PGA.

An international career soon followed. He was known as one of the game's best ball-strikers, though sometimes a shaky putter.

De Vicenzo collected national open titles like they were trinkets; so many, in fact, that no one is quite sure of the exact number (perhaps as many as 39, in 14 different countries).

Though he never won the U.S. Open, De Vicenzo did capture the first U.S. Senior Open, in 1980.

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