Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The former Masters champion was standing alone by the big tree at Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday, bracing himself against the cold wind. There were no TV cameras around, no autograph seekers or press conferences for the man who donned a green jacket 41 years ago.
"I never did get the credit," Bob Goalby said, "but I got the green jacket."
It was Goalby who won the 1968 Masters, the tournament best remembered for Robert De Vicenzo signing an incorrect scorecard that kept him out of a playoff with Goalby. While De Vicenzo became a sympathetic figure, Goalby became a sidebar in his greatest moment in golf.
"It was unfortunate for him." Goalby, now 80, said of De Vicenzo's error. "It was equally unfortunate for me because I never did get the credit, but I've been back here 51 times. I get to go to the dinner, and I have a lot of fun seeing the old guys."
Goalby recalled how awkward the moments were after De Vicenzo incorrectly signed for a 4 on No. 17 when he'd made a 3, thus losing to Goalby by a stroke. Goalby says that club chairman Clifford Roberts and co-founder Bobby Jones invited De Vicenzo to the trophy room to join Goalby and the group for dinner.
"It was a little sticky," Goalby said. "At Butler Cabin, Clifford Roberts didn't know what to say. He said, 'We really have two champions.' He could have said, 'It was unfortunate for Roberto, but we only have one champion.' But I understand why he said it. He kind of didn't know what to say."
Goalby says he and De Vicenzo have remained friends, though they haven't seen each other in some time. As for his reflections on the 1968 Masters? Goalby says they are mostly happy.
"I got the title, I got the coat, and I get to come here," he said, gazing out at the golf course. "I've got the memories." See the SI cover from the 1968 Masters.

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