The mood at Augusta National will be serious and focused beginning on Thursday morning, but the scene will be very different Wednesday afternoon with players in the field, former winners and others partaking in the Par 3 Contest. The event is one of the most popular Masters traditions and allows a nice reprieve for the players before grinding out the next four days.
This will be the 54th year of the tradition, which dates back to 1960 on Augusta's short course. The Par 3 Contest field consists of current Masters participants, previous champions and other invited players. It often turns into a family affair with family members serving as caddies and sometimes even playing a shot or two. It's not uncommon to see fathers helping their young sons try to read the tricky Augusta greens.
While there will be fun and a few laughs, there will be some high-level skill on display, too. There have been 77 hole-in-ones in the event, including two last season.
A world without Tiger
The course consists of nine par-3 holes, ranging from 70 to 140 yards. Art Wall and Gay Brewer hold the score record, each needing just 20 strokes to complete the course. There is a bit of a jinx involved with the event, as during the previous 53 years, no player won the Par 3 Contest and went on to win the Masters in the same week. You'll sometimes get players who are on the verge of winning, throwing it away or not signing their scorecard so as to avoid this curse.
There are no formal tee times for the Par 3 Contest, but play is expected to begin at noon ET. The bigger names typically hit the course a bit later, with television coverage on ESPN running from 3 to 5 p.m. The broadcast will also be available to stream online at Masters.com.
Par 3 Contest schedule:
Television: ESPN - 3 to 5 p.m.