Maria GarciaContributor IJuly 26, 2009

I had many rivals in my life; some defeated me and I beat others; but what really won me and pulled me out of the race was time, acknowledges with great resignation, Roberto De Vicenzo, the greatest golfer that Argentina has given to the world .

Nearly 60 years as a professional were enough for him to win over 240 tournaments, twice as many friends and although he denies it, beat time, because his body may not have the same swing or timing of forty years ago, but his name and his feats will remain immortalized along the history of golf.

In addition, he represented his country in 17 World Cups and won the national open in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Holland, France, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, Uruguay and Argentina. In this regard, the American essayist Jack Whitaker once wrote that "If golf was as war Roberto would have conquered more countries than Alexander the Great."

When did you begin your first contact with golf, Roberto?

I lived very near golf club Deportivo Argentino in Central Miguelete, and all my brothers had been or were caddies Then, I too became a caddy. Well, at age fifteen I  began playing and didn’t stop till I was 73. 

How did such a great love for a sport that was so unpopular at that time grow in you ?

When I started as a caddy, back then when I was only 10 , some of my older brothers were already professional and I began to learn the game,  Working as a caddie  also had a practical aspect for my family: in my house, we lacked food many times, so I managed to earn some coins removing the balls from the lagoon of the club. So that is how I became interested in golf, and when my mom sent me shopping, I went through the muddy streets hitting the rocks with a stick. 

What is the balance you make of your career? Is there anything that you have remained unfulfilled?

No, I can not complain, I won over 230 tournaments and had the chance of making a living through golf all my life. Besides, I could compete for four generations against the greatest golfers in the world. I faced rivals such as Henry Cotton, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickleson, Severiano Ballesteros and Ben Hogan. Anything unfulfilled? As it happens to everybody, one always has remaining debts, the man is selfish by nature and always wants to win everything.

You say that time has beaten you, however, in your 80s. you go on teaching and playing almost every day of the week ...

Yes, because I still have good sensations about  the game (he stops suddenly) that appear and disappear. That is why I still play though I can not move as I used to and has not the same swing or elasticity as before. I still fight, and if time had remained the same I  may still be fighting.

How long can you stand it without putting on the gloves, grab the stick and go for the green? 

Hmm .... I do not know, is very difficult to stop playing because every time you're near a golf course you will want to go hit a few blows, it is a habit, a necessity. It's like when you eat: You can be a day without doing so, but there comes a time when you have to do it to keep on living.

In San Eliseo Country, De Vicenzo feels at home. There , the "Copa Roberto De Vicenzo” was held in his honour, last year.

You have become  the 'golfing' face of San Eliseo, when and how was this relationship born?

It was five years ago when the court was built. At first I helped building it and now I come here twice or three times a week because I like the system they have in the whole complex and I have built a beautiful relationship with the people in charge.

What does it take to become “a De Vicenzo” and live by and for golf?

I worked all my life, I spent 12 hours on the golf course and I am still doing so. I thought that at fifty I was going to withdraw, and here I am. 
In golf, as in any other profession, it’s not enough to have the skills or the will,  you have to exploit innate qualities.


Qualities that you've always had and turned you into the best golf player in the world, right?

I was never the best, but neither was I the worst .I was among the best, but I was never treated as the best in the world. As the tango goes: “that’s life."


This is an extract , retrieved from :


Courtesy : Mr. Juan B. Vega

Photo :