Par 3 Contest continues to thrill

Par 3 Contest
• Jimmy Walker wins Par 3... and is immediately jinxed
• Nine holes in one in total this year
• Gary Player, 80, calls his ace a "miracle'

THE MASTERS | Par 3 Contest

Only the truly cantankerous could find something wrong with the Par 3 Contest.

It’s one of golf’s few traditions that’s isn’t blindingly dull. Where else in golf can you get drama like this, below, that in the cold light of day essentially means nothing? They’re just playing for the hell of it... and loving every minute.

Rickie Fowler stood and watched Justin Thomas ace the fourth, then stepped up and duly followed him in. Playing partner Jordan Spieth was tagged with following them both in. Even the current Masters champ knew that was too much to ask.

Somewhere over the water Troy Merritt’s three-year-old son, Scout, was trying to catch a butterfly in front of 4,000 people.

There have been six holes in one in total, with the loudest cheer, below, perhaps reserved for Gary Player, now aged 80. He’s now had four holes in one at the Par 3 Contest, more than any other player.

Sir Nick Faldo was in jovial mood, and even said “hello fans” whilst waving to members of the press. He was joking, honest. The mood is light, fun, relaxed, the perfect warm-up for the big test tomorrow morning.

Jack Nicklaus is said to be working through his grandkids to give them all a chance to caddie at the Par 3 Contest. He has 23 in total, and admitted it’s going to take some time to keep them all happy.

Rory skipped the Par 3 Contest this year to get away from the spotlight and attempt to emulate the familiarities of 2011, where he did the same and ended up with a four-shot lead after 54 holes, the largest margin going into the final day since Tiger Woods had a nine-shot lead in 1997.

Only time will tell if Jimmy Walker, who won this year's contest, should have followed Rory’s lead. Walker, at one point, had played five holes in just nine shots, and finished on eight-under. His total of 19 shots is a new course record.

Overall, there were a total nine holes in one.

It remains an incredible quirk of fate that no player has won the Par 3 Contest and the Masters in the same year. We’ll find out on Sunday if that ‘record’ holds firm.

Par 3 Contest - Makin' Aces

If this doesn't make you smile, nothing will. Here's Gary Player holing out at the Par 3 Contest. You can't beat the high-kick, either. "To be playing here at 80, it's a dream," said Player. "The enthusiasm here is amazing. It's a miracle."


"It's unbelievable," said Jack Nicklaus.

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