BUENOS AIRES: Argentine golfing great Roberto de Vicenzo died in Buenos Aires on Friday at the age of 94, his son Eduardo said.
De Vicenzo started out as a caddie in 1932 but rose through the golfing ranks to win the 1967 British Open, beating the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
He won 230 tournaments worldwide, including four PGA titles throughout his career and alongside Antonio Cerda helped Argentina win the inaugural World Cup of golf in 1953.
His outstanding senior career included a victory in the first US Senior Open, but he is also remembered for one of golf’s great gaffes.
At the 1968 Masters, on his 45th birthday, de Vicenzo fired a final-round 65 and appeared headed for a playoff with Bob Goalby.
But it was discovered he had inadvertently signed an incorrect scorecard — for a 66 that didn’t reflect one of his birdies —and lost by one stroke.
“This is a sad day, especially for golf in South America, where no player contributed more to the growth of the sport in that part of the world than Roberto de Vicenzo,” US PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“Roberto was a tremendous champion who, as amazing as it may seem, won at least one tournament every year between 1942 and 1980 and was one of our sport’s great ambassadors. When we were deciding what to name PGA TOUR Latinoamerica’s Player of the Year Award, there was really no discussion. Calling it the Roberto de Vicenzo Award was our small way of honoring a man who did so many things in golf that it’s difficult to even attempt to mention.”
Eduardo de Vicenzo said his father’s health had deteriorated since he suffered a broken hip some months ago.
Nicklaus, hosting the Memorial tournament in Dublin, Ohio, this week, recalled his rival and friend fondly.
“He was one of the really good guys,” Nicklaus said. “I just always enjoyed his company. He was a nice man, and you always miss nice guys.”