R.I.P. Bob Goalby
The 1968 Masters Champion, Ryder Cupper and 11-time PGA Tour winner helped create the Senior Tour. He also made a mark over 14 years in golf broadcasting.
Bob Goalby, the 1968 Masters champion, runner-up in both the U.S. Open and a PGA, 11-time PGA Tour winner and longtime NBC golf announcer, passed away at age 92. He is survived by sons Kel, Kevin and golf architect Kye as well as noted golf nephews Jay and Jerry Haas.
Dan O’Neill’s lengthy and detailed remembrance for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a fitting salute to the only native of that city to win a major. But it was inevitable that this or any remembrance of a rich golf life starts with the ‘68 Masters and how Goalby won:
Shortly after he won the 1968 Masters, Bob Goalby received a letter from Bobby Jones, the legendary patriarch of the championship. In his correspondence, Jones wrote:
“I ask you to always remember that you won the tournament under the rules of golf and by superlative play.”
Born into the Great Depression, he persevered and made a beautiful life. He contributed a voice in building the PGA TOUR into the mega-enterprise it is. The PGA TOUR Champions didn’t exist until he and a few friends relentlessly campaigned for it.
On so many occasions he should have heard “thank you” for being a man of strength and vision. Instead, often he was expected to say “sorry” for playing a brilliant round of golf on April 14, 1968.
Goalby was drafted into the Army in 1950 and he served until 1952. Afterwards, Goalby began playing professionally and was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1958. He also played in the 1963 Ryder Cup Matches.
But it was the 1968 Masters that was his signature triumph. Goalby’s heroics down the stretch often have been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the tournament. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Goalby birdied Nos. 13 and 14, then made eagle at No. 15, drilling a 3-iron from 200 yards to 6 feet. He shot 66 and posted 11-under 277 at Augusta National.
An 18-hole Monday playoff should have ensued had De Vincenzo signed an accurate card. Instead, the rules called for him to accept the score Tommy Aaron incorrectly marked down. It was a stroke higher than De Vincenzo shot, thereby giving Goalby a one-stroke win.
One of the better interviews Goalby gave can be found in this 2018 My Shot for Golf Digest, including his reminder of how he and De Vicenzo later twice played as a team in the Legends of Golf.
Masters Chairman Fred Ridley offered this statement:
And here is the final round broadcast in black and white that aired live in color. You can see Goalby going 3-3 at 14 and 15, plus, of course, the awkward end: