Major Golf Rules Blunders At The Masters-Playing By The Rules

"What a stupid I am to be wrong here," De Vicenzo said after realizing his misfortune.

The Masters has been the scene for some of the greatest victories in golf, but it has also been the scene of one of the most crushing defeats due to a golf ruling.  In 1968, Argentinean Roberto DeVicenzo, the reigning British Open Champion, finished the final round of the Masters with what seemed to be a 65 to tie for the lead and the promise of a playoff.  Tommy Aaron, who kept DeVicenzo’s score, mistakenly marked down a four for the 17th hole instead of a three, which was DeVicenzo’s actual score.

DeVicenzo signed the card, and when he did that, he signed for 66 instead of a 65, thus giving the 1968 Masters to Bob Goalby.  DeVicenzo had become the victim of Rule 6-6d which states: “The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card.  If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified.  If he returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands.”

The Masters has also provided other memorable Rules incidents and I will highlight a couple of those for your interest.  In 2008, Padraig Harrington penalized himself one stroke because his ball had moved after he addressed it, even though the movement was obviously caused by a gusting wind (Rule18-2b).

Also in 2008, Rory McIlroy failed to hit his ball out of a bunker and then kicked/smoothed the sand.  If it had been ruled that he kicked the sand out of frustration he would have been disqualified, as Decision 13-4/0.5 states that kicking the ground in the hazard constitutes testing the condition.  Fortunately for Rory, the Committee accepted his explanation that he was just smoothing the sand with his foot, which does not incur a penalty, as per Exception 2 to Rule 13-4.

Frank Guastella

Michigan PGA Rules Official

Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf

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Photo Courtesy

AP Photo/Eddie Kolenovsky, Halleran/Getty Images, Associated Press


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