Masters Traditions
April 08, 2020

9 things we bet you don't know about the Masters Par-3 Contest

2017 Masters

Augusta National

We'll have to wait until November for the Wednesday tradition of the annual Par-3 Contest, held since 1960. And as we bemoan the fact we're missing the annual tradition today, we'd like to educate you on nine tidbits that you should know, before November comes around. You know, stats beyond just what most Masters fans know, that no one has ever won the Par-3 and the actual Masters Tournament in the same year. And that kids serve as caddies. Here are a few things you'd be interested to know about the one-shotter contest.

One player has won it who wasn't in the Masters field.

Jerry Pate won the Par-3 Contest in 2005 as an honorary invitee. Augusta National invites all former U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions as non-competing invitees. They're also allowed to play in practice rounds, as well as the Par-3 Contest. Pate fell into that category as the 1975 U.S. Open champion.

Three amateurs have won it.

Don't expect it to happen this year as it hasn't occurred since 1976, but Deane Beman (1961), Labron Harris Jr. (1964) and Jay Haas (1976) have all taken home the crystal for taking home the Par-3 as amateurs.

Nearly one third of past Par-3 winners have missed the cut.

Since its inception in 1960, 19 of the 61 Par-3 champions have gone on to miss the cut in the tournament proper, including last year's Par-3 Contest winner—Matt Wallace.

Matt Wallace 2019 Masters - Par 3 Contest

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

There have been 21 playoffs for the Par-3 title.

Although conceived as a fun event, the Par-3 has gone into extra holes 21 times. Among the big names winning in extra holes are Arnold Palmer (1967), Sam Snead (1974), Tom Weiskopf (1977) and Tom Watson (1982). The last time there was a playoff was last year, when Wallace defeated 1988 Masters champ Sandy Lyle with a birdie on the first overtime hole.

Two Par-3 Contests have ended in a tie.

Padraig Harrington and David Toms tied in 2003. And when bad weather forced an early end to the event in 2012, Harrington and Jonathan Byrd split the title, giving Harrington a record three Par-3 Contest wins.

There have been 101 holes-in-one made.

If you want to see an ace, the Par-3 offers an excellent chance as 101 have been made, including nine (a record) in 2016. Perhaps one of the most surprising was made by Jack Nicklaus' grandson GT in 2018, when the Golden Bear let him take a swing on the ninth hole. Another memorable ace came that year as well when Tony Finau grotesquely dislocated (and popped back into place) his ankle while celebrating the shot on the seventh hole.

Eleven Masters champions have won the Par-3.

Although no one has won it in the same year they won, 11 champions have captured the Par-3: Sam Snead, Art Wall Jr., Arnold Palmer, Gay Brewer, Tom Watson, Tommy Aaron, Ben Crenshaw, Ray Floyd, Vijay Singh, Sandy Lyle and Mark O'Meara. Only Singh in 1994 won it prior to winning his first Masters.

The record for winning score is eight under par.

Jimmy Walker shot lights out in the 2016 Par-3, recording six birdies and an ace on No. 2 for a record-setting score of 19. That bested the previous mark of 20 set by Art Wall Jr. in 1965 and tied by Gay Brewer in 1973. As for the legendary curse of no Par-3 winner winning the tournament proper in the same year, Walker told the Augusta Chronicle, “I know there’s a lot of history that goes along with this, but I think it’s time to buck it. I think I have a good shot to really play well and have a chance to win." Walker went on to finish T-29.

2011 Masters - Raymond Floyd - Par-3 Contest

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Two players were Masters runner-up in the same year they won the Par-3.

Although no one has won the Masters and Par-3 in the same year, two have come close. Ray Floyd lost in a playoff to Nick Faldo in 1990 and Chip Beck, he of the infamous lay-up on the 15th hole, was runner-up to Bernhard Langer in 1993.


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