The final round coverage by CBS of the last 50 Masters golf tournaments (from 1968 to 2017 at present) went online on YouTube this past month. I’ve always wanted to see how the controversial 1968 event was handled, so kudos to Augusta National for finding and archiving this footage.
Long story short: the ’68 Masters should have ended on April 15th, not April 14th. Under the rules of the time, if there was a tie for the lowest score (in golf, the lower your score is, the better), the golfers tied would come back the following day for an 18-hole playoff. The Masters scrapped this format in 1976, opting for a hole-for-hole “sudden death” format that was first used three years later.
Roberto DeVincenzo lost his shot at a playoff with Bob Goalby that year during to a scoring error made by DeVicenzo’s playing partner that day, Tommy Aaron. Aaron incorrectly scored Roberto having made a par on the 17th hole, which DeVicenzo actually birdied. The error was alluded to by Pat Summerall late in the coverage but wasn’t officially announced until the “Butler Cabin” ceremony anchored by Frank Gifford. Instead of the playoff, Goalby was declared the winner by one stroke with USGA rules stating that in the event of the error (that went uncaught by DeVicenzo), the higher of the disputed scores stands.
To me, even in 1968, this is the kind of thing where an error like that could have been corrected. Golf hasn’t embraced modern technology the way other sports have, and on this one day, it worked to DeVicenzo’s detriment.