Bob Goalby, winner of the 1968 Masters, has passed away at the age of 92.
An impressive athlete who also excelled in football and baseball, Goalby grew up in Belleville, Ill., just outside of St. Louis. He served in the Korean War, was named PGA Rookie of the Year in 1958 and would go on to win 11 times on the PGA Tour, none of them more memorable than that 1968 Masters.
It was during the final round where Goalby fired a 66 to reach the clubhouse tied for the lead at 11 under with Roberto De Vicenzo. Goalby was ready for a playoff, at that time an 18-hole affair that would take place the following day. Only the playoff never happened — De Vicenzo signed for an incorrect score on the 17th hole, granting Goalby a one-shot win.
De Vicenzo’s birdie 3 on the par-4 17th was recorded as a 4 by playing partner Tommy Aaron. When De Vicenzo signed the card, his incorrect score was made official, and the 1968 Masters was over.
It was not how Goalby wanted to win, but he accepted his victory with grace.
“I’m very happy I won the tournament,” Goalby said that day. “I’d be a liar if I told you I wasn’t. But I’m really sorry I won it the way I did. I’d much rather have done it in a playoff. Roberto has been one of my good friends for 12 years, and there has never been a nicer fellow.”
It likely says something about Goalby’s grace that he and De Vicenzo remained friends beyond that fateful day. They would compete together multiple times as teammates in the 1980s on the Champions Tour, of which Goalby was a founding member. He also took to the golf broadcast booth, where he spent 14 years as a commentator for NBC Sports.
Goalby was the uncle of Jerry Haas, who coaches at Wake Forest, Jay Haas, a nine-time Tour champion, and the great-uncle to Bill Haas, six-time Tour champ.