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What Is Par-3 Contest? All About the Fan-Favorite Masters Tradition Explored

Published 03/30/2024, 1:45 PM EDT

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Of all the traditions at the Masters such as Champions Dinner, Green Jackets, Caddie Uniform, and so on, the annual Par 3 Contest is the most exciting one for the patrons. The first Par-3 contest held at the inaugural exhibition was in 1960 and won by Sam Snead. The thrill of Master’s is such that every day has an entertainment-packed plan for the patrons at Augusta National Golf Club. With the Augusta, showdown starting from April 11, the day before, that is Wednesday, April 10, is going to be the adventure!!

The Par-3 contest is all about fan-favorite golf stars and their families coming onto the course, caddying for them and sometimes hitting the shots on behalf of the golfers. The sight of their smiling children and the happy faces of the family members cheering up and enjoying themselves adds a little more brightness to the stressful championship.

The total field of this contest includes all the participants of the tournament, including past champions who are not part of the present game. This contest is a quick nine-hole game nestled in the northeast corner of the Augusta National grounds. The holes, ranging from 90 to 155 yards, play over DeSoto Springs Pond and Ike’s Pond. Although it’s a leisurely stroll around the nine holes, there must be a purpose to this fun-filled activity, for sure!

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Born out of the brain of Augusta National Chairman Clifford Roberts, it was a pre-tournament attraction. However, he didn’t win everyone’s confidence at the beginning, some of whom derided the notion of a “Tom Thumb course.” However, they weren’t aware at that time how crucial it would become. So, the pre-tournament attraction ended up becoming the most popular event!

The Par-3 contest’s winner gets an engraved crystal bowl. Till now, the record of no player winning the contest and the Masters in the same year stands tall. Hence, winning by three is popularly considered a curse on the players! The contest initiates the major tournament with a lot of excitement, raised eyebrows, and goosebumps. The contest holds great importance and has seen some stunning records in the past.

What are some of the records created at the Par-3 contest?

In 2016, Jimmy Walker set the tournament record for the Par-3 Contest at 19, which broke the earlier record of 20 set by Art Wall in 1965 and Gay Brewer in 1973. Walker’s round also had a phenomenal ace. The other interesting fact about the par-3 contest is that the most famous Masters champion, Jack Nicklaus, has never won it.

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Read More: The Masters 2024: 5 Most Insane Rules of Augusta National Explored

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Snead became the contest’s first multiple winner in 1974, fourteen years after his first. 36 years after his first in 1982, Tom Watson won his second Par-3 contest in 2018. Pádraig Harrington is the only one who has won the contest thrice (2003, 2004, 2012).

Moreover, two players won the par-3 contest and then finished second in the Masters the same year. In 1990, Raymond Floyd lost a playoff to Nick Faldo, and in 1993, Chip Beck was runner-up to Bernhard Langer.

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Has the rush started in your veins yet for the upcoming Masters? Let us know in the comment box.

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Written by:

Nikki Sharma

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Nikki Sharma is a Golf Writer at EssentiallySports. With six years of journalistic experience, she has mastered the art of covering niches. An avid LPGA follower herself, Nikki has a knack for all things female in golf.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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