The fascinating history of a grand old game
Held annually in April at Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club, the Masters is a hallowed sporting event. But Curt Sampson's The Lost Masters: Grace and Disgrace in '68 chronicles one of the most controversial of Masters outings. In 1968, with national racial tensions running high in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Masters convened with no African-American competitors, and everyone expecting Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus to win the Green Jacket. Instead, blue-collar Illinoisan Bob Goalby and dapper Argentinean Roberto De Vicenzo, two respected if not spectacular golfers, matched each other shot for shot to finish in a tie after 72 holes. With a playoff looming, it came to light that De Vicenzo had incorrectly scored his final round, and he lost the title on a technicality, thus focusing negative attention on seemingly stodgy Masters officials and bringing unwarranted grief upon poor Goalby, who had played the game of his life. Sampson's journalism goes well beyond mere reportage of tournament play, covering in equal measure the fascinating personalities involved in the furor, their lives both before and after the tournament and the general tenor of those turbulent times.