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2022 Masters: two players who will not be able to win the masters by tradition; even as both players will compete starting Thursday.

2022 Masters: two players who will not be able to win the masters by tradition; even as both players will compete starting Thursday.

 

Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes winners of the 2022 Masters Par 3 Contest 

 

As tradition dictates, there is now a very bad news to report about Canadian golfers Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes. Neither of them will win the Masters.

Mackenzie Hughes

 

That is, if you believe the superstition or at least, believes in the history. No player has won the Par 3 Contest and gone on to win the Masters in the same year, a trend that Weir and Hughes will both try to buck when this year’s tournament starts Thursday.

 

Weir and Hughes shared the Par 3 title on Wednesday, both finishing 4 under. Play started late because of the threat of weather and ended early when more inclement weather was approaching the area.

 

“It’s fun. This is a very special day for me,” Hughes said. “This is my third Masters and my first Par 3 Contest. I was really excited to get out here and do this. Very lucky that the weather held off for us.”

 

Depending on how you count, Hughes either had three caddies or zero caddies. He carried his own bag, while caddy No. 1 (his wife) kept watchful eyes on caddies No. 2 and No. 3 (their kids).

 

“My youngest, Cohen, he’s 16 months on Monday, so he wanted to get after every ball on the green, heading towards lakes,” Hughes said. “So, definitely priority No. 1 was to keep them on grass. Did that.”

 

It was the first Par 3 event at the Masters — the traditional, family friendly Wednesday afternoon preceding the real thing since 2019. The 2020 and 2021 events didn’t happen because of the pandemic.

 

Some of the “patrons” on the short course, with holes ranging from 70 to about 140 yards in length, didn’t exactly behave. Sergio Garciamissed the green at No. 1, perhaps because a child loudly announced during Garcia’s swing that he’d be taking a turn next. Kids ran on the greens, others jumped up and down by the tee boxes.

 

Obviously, nobody minded.

 

 Justin Rose said it was a “Special family time,”

 

 

Caddies hit balls into the water, wives took putts for their tour-player husbands, Lacey Homa for instance had a birdie for her husband Max Homa and about 40 players were technically ineligible to win because someone else played their ball at some point during the contest.

 

Again, nobody minded that, either.

 

“I think as you get older you understand to appreciate even more,” said 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who finished a shot back Wednesday. “Having the Par 3 back this year is a blast. It is so special. I can’t put into words how special it is.”

 

There are 11 men who have won both the Masters and the Par-3 Contest — Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Tommy Aaron, Sandy Lyle, Gay Brewer and Art Wall Jr.

 

Just never in the same year.

 

Weir, however, said he didn’t believe in the Par 3 winning jinx.

 

“You come out and you want to hit some good shots and get a good feel and leave a good taste in your mn outh,” Weir said.

 

*****Here are the two main things you should know about the Wednesday Par 3 contest before sitting down on your couch on Thursday  afternoon to watch the Masters Tournament proper.

 

1. This feel-good event highlights cuteness. Players dress their toddlers in caddie outfits and have them attempt to carry golf clubs, and it really doesn’t get any better than that. Wouldn’t it be cute to see videos of children getting to be with their dads in golf outfits!

 

2. Did you know that no winner of the Par-3 Contest has ever gone on to win the same edition of the Masters? Whether this is a curse, or simple probability and statistics, no one can be quite sure. But how the Par-3 winner does on the big course is always a fun storyline to track.

 

The Origin

The Chairman and co-founder of Augusta National ‘Clifford Roberts’ came up with the idea of the par-3 contest. Although not everyone at the club bought the idea from the start, there aren’t many who don’t look forward to the distinct tradition nowadays.

The par-3 course itself was opened in 1958. The course plays 1,060 yards and was designed by George W. Cobb with lots of input from Roberts himself. The first event was hosted in 1960 and won by Sam Snead.

 

The Layout

Current and past Masters champions are usually invited to play a relaxing round on the 9-hole par-3 course the Wednesday before the first round of the Masters. The short course contains holes ranging from 70 to 140 yards in the northeast corner of the property. While the winner gets a crystal bowl for lowest score, many allow shots to be hit by children or family members rather than posting an official number (that way they can avoid that pesky aforementioned curse).

 

Some Memorable moments

Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler made back-to-back aces on the 4th hole while playing in the same group in 2016.

— In 2018 Tom Watson won the event at the age of 68. He is the oldest to win the event.

Tony Finau, after making an ace in 2018, sprinted toward the green in celebration, but he rolled his ankle and almost had to withdraw from the tournament.

— Also in 2018, Jack Nicklaus allowed his grandson, G.T., to hit the tee shot on the ninth hole, which he aced.

 

Facts and figures

— The 2022 Masters Media Guide revealed that there have been 100 holes-in-one during the competition. The most in a single year was nine in 2016. The hole with the most aces is No. 9, with 24 total (21 present course, three original course).

— Jimmy Walker set the course record of 19 in 2016.

— Padraig Harrington has the most wins with three wins in 2003, 2004, 2012.

— The oldest person to ever participate in the event is Paul Runyan. He played in 2000 at 91 years of age.

— The three amateurs who have ever won the event are: 

Deane Beman (1961), Labron Harris Jr. (1964) and Jay Haas (1976).

 

Due to thunderstorms in the early morning hours Thursday, gate openings and tee times will be delayed by 30 minutes. once open we will give an update on 9jagolf.com.ng 

Ticketing gates will open at 7:30 a.m. In addition, the Honorary Starters Ceremony will take place at 8:15 a.m., followed by the first tee time at 8:30 a.m.

 

 

Ilori wonderful

Ilori Wonderful is a scratch golfer and a senior golf writer with years of experience. He is the founder, 9jagolf.com.ng, and brain behind the (Golf2Streets) an NGO for grassroot golf development in Africa. What began as a grad school hobby is now a top golf blog in Nigeria, with thousands of readers coming to his site for easy and reliable golf news. His first blog was published in 2016 on naijagolf.simdif.com. He has also worked and published articles as guest golf writer with the likes of Thenation.ng, www.nannews.ng, sokonnect.com, TheAfricantour.com etc. He is known for his honest and genuine golf reporting.

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