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The real story behind Roberto De Vicenzo's Masters scorecard gaffe

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Bettmann

If you're a fan of golf history, you've no doubt heard the bare bones of this story: In 1968, Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard that lost him the Masters. It's true, as far as it goes. De Vicenzo did sign a card with an incorrect score for the 17th hole—a 4 instead of a 3—and by the rules had to take a 66 instead of a 65. He would have been in a playoff with Bob Goalby with the 65; with the 66, he finished a shot behind. If he'd noticed the incorrect score, he could have forestalled the entire disaster.

Look closer, though, and it becomes hard to blame De Vicenzo, or at least to blame him alone. A variety of strange circumstances aligned at the end of Masters Sunday in '68 to lead to this error, and while De Vicenzo certainly owns part of the blame, he owns less than you might think.

So who else was at fault? His playing partner, Tommy Aaron, for one. Perhaps Goalby too. And more importantly than any individual, it was the institutions that failed De Vicenzo, the biggest offender being Augusta National itself.

A thorough look at the events of that fateful Sunday shows us that the shame of De Vicenzo's error doesn't belong to him alone. In this week's Local Knowledge podcast, we investigate exactly what happened, how a a bewildering set of circumstances led one of the more bizarre moments in major championship golf, and how the events of that day affected the lives of the principle players forever after. Listen below, or wherever you get your podcasts.