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The 'curse' of the Par-3 Tournament

Par 3 1

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.

Par 3 2

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.

Par 3 3

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.

Holes In One

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.

Harrington

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…

Par 3 Champs

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