In a week full of ‘traditions unlike any other’, Wednesday’s Par-3 Tournament is one of the many customs that makes the Masters unique.
Played over nine holes ranging from 70 to 140 yards in the north-east corner of the club grounds, the event has become a beloved warm-up act for the main event starting the next event.
It was introduced in 1960 and, over the years, has become something of a family affair, with kids, grandkids, wives, girlfriends and other family members acting as the caddie for those taking part.
In recent years, some famous faces have also donned the caddie overalls, including One Direction singer Niall Horan, who looped for Rory McIlroy in the 2015 Par-3, below.
Interestingly, no player has ever won the Par-3 Tournament and the Masters in the same year. It has become almost customary, in fact, for some players to disqualify themselves from the tournament by letting somebody else – most often one of their children – hit one of their shots, so as not to fall victim to the curse.
In his new book, Unprecedented: The Masters and Me, Tiger Woods discussed the hoodoo.
The four-time Masters champ played in the Par-3 every year that he was eligible through 2004, when he managed a hole-in-one whilst playing with Mark O’Meara and Arnold Palmer. He shot 23 that year to tie for the low score with Padraig Harrington but opted not to play-off for the title.
“Nobody had won the Par-3 and gone on to win the Masters in the same year,” wrote Woods. “I wasn’t going to test the historical record, and so I bowed to superstition.”
Raymond Floyd has come the closest to breaking the jinx. He won the Par-3 in 1990 and went on to lose in a sudden-death play-off for the green jacket four days later.
Eleven players have won both events but, of those, only Ben Crenshaw and Vijay Singh have won a green jacket after winning the Par-3. Tom Watson, meanwhile, is the only player to hold both title simultaneously. He won Par-3 in 1982 before starting his title defence of the Masters proper the following morning.
Let’s take a look at how the most recent winners of the Par-3 have gone on to fare…