Masters controversies: How the Rules of Golf played a part at Augusta
As sure as night follows day you know that the Rules of Golf will crop up to change the writing of history and the Masters is no exception as we delve into some famous and less well-known infringements over the years…
1. ‘What a stupid I am’
Fifty years ago the cruellest rules blooper took place. Roberto De Vicenzo birdied the 17th to take a one-stroke lead over Bob Goalby – in the clubhouse at 11 under after shooting a 66 – but playing partner Tommy Aaron marked him down for a four.
The Argentinean, whose 45th birthday it was that Sunday, then bogeyed the last to seemingly fall into a play-off.
However, under Rule 6-6d, he had to accept the higher score and his 65 became a 66. Goalby (below) was the Masters champion.
“I play golf all over the world for 30 years, and now all I can think of is what a stupid I am to be wrong in this wonderful tournament,” De Vicenzo said afterwards. “Never have I ever done such a thing.”
As for Aaron he would say: “It’s a shame. He should’ve checked his scorecard.”
2. Kick-in birdie to near DQ for Woods
People might forget that Tiger was tied for the lead when his ball clattered into the flagstick at the 15th on Friday before rolling back into the water in 2013.
Woods dropped two yards behind where he hit the original shot in order to avoid a repeat of what had just happened which was a violation of the rules.
What he should have done was drop it as ‘nearly as possible’ to the original spot.
A TV viewer later called in and, because a new ruling had been brought in two years previously saying that a player would not be disqualified if a dispute was based on TV evidence, Woods was handed just a two-shot penalty.
The club took the rap saying that they had reviewed the video before he had signed his card and deemed that the drop was fine.
Woods, the big favourite that week, actually made a bogey but could do no better than a tie for fourth.
3. Remember Guan Tianlang?
On the same day as Woods’ ruling the Chinese wonder kid left his mark on the Masters when he became the youngest player to make a major cut and be assessed a penalty for slow play.
Rules guru John Paramor, who approached the 14-year-old four times before taking actioj, was the devil incarnate who dished out the one-shot penalty at the 17th hole on the Friday of the 2013 tournament.
Thankfully he went on to just make the cut due to being within 10 shots of the lead.
His playing partners had differing opinions of his pace of play. Ben Crenshaw said: “This isn’t going to end up pretty. I’m sick. I’m sick for him. I’m sorry, I’m a player, but it’s not easy to get around this golf course.”
Matteo Manassero wasn’t quite as sympathetic: “Sometimes, most of the times, he takes a little too long.”