Avoiding the Par-3 Masters Curse Leads to an Interesting Strategy

The Masters Par-3 contest returned on Wednesday and it will surely be repeated many times on the ESPN broadcast that no winner of the Par-3 contest has ever won the Masters since pre-tournament competition began in 1960. .

The curse is so entrenched in tournament lore that Par-3 might be the only time players deliberately tank at Augusta National.

During last week’s conference call with three of the ESPN analysts who will be working on the tournament – including two former players – this was admitted.

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However, they both regretted it.

“I made a lot of bad decisions while I was playing, and in the Par 3 I birdied four of the first five… I was a bunch under and [on] the eighth hole…I hit it in the water on purpose,” said Andy North. “I should have thought about trying to win it. But then, oh, if you win that, you have no chance of winning the tournament, so I threw a couple in the water on purpose on that hole and I pulled your peer or whatever and moved on.”

Amateur Devon Bling celebrates his hole-in-one at No. 7 on the Augusta National Par-3 course in 2019.

odd curtis said a Hall of Fame career would have been enhanced, on a personal level, by winning a Masters Par-3.

“Andy isn’t the only one who realizes nobody won both, so he hit him in the water late in the inning,” Strange said. “But I think overall the guys – looking back on it like we are now, would have loved to have won the Par 3. My God, what a wonderful event to have your name on.”

Scott Van Pelt told the caddy story for the Jacksonville native David Duval in a group including Davis Love III of St. Simons Island, Georgia, and Fred couples.

“David was when he was at his peak,” Van Pelt said. “He could have been world No. 1 or very close, and we played with Davis and Freddy, and from the jump we were talking about getting some in the water if we had to.”

Then there are other reasons to tank. A legend of Augusta surrounding by Rocco Mediate The par-3 win in 1991 had to do with how a playoff went between Mediate, Lee Janzen and Sam Snead, who was 78 at the time.

Snead played in an early group, posted a 3-under 24, and left for his rental house. Mediate and Janzen tied it and a club official called Snead’s son and asked him to bring his father, then 78, to the course for a playoff.

Prior to Snead’s arrival, Florida Southern teammates Mediate and Janzen hatched a plot: Snead would have the honors since he had posted his score first, so after hitting one on the green, Mediate and Janzen would hit on purpose. in the water for Snead to do it. to earn.

They were foxes. Snead, said to be grumpy from being woken up from a nap, arrived at the tee, then threw his shot in the water, removed his hat and walked off the course.

The Par-3 contest has not been held for the past two years and three of the past five years. The 2017 Par-3 was canceled due to weather and Augusta National elected not to run the Par-3 at the 2020 Fall Tournament (when no fans were allowed on the course) and the last year due to social distancing issues.

Smith’s game ‘feels good’

Apart from a few days of relaxing with his family and playing golf with his father, the player champion Cameron Smith of Ponte Vedra Beach said he had worked hard on his short game and had gone weeks since winning the Players Stadium Course.

Only one player has won The Players and Masters in the same year, Tiger Woods in 2001. And since Smith has three top-10 finishes in his last four Augusta starts, he likes his chances this week.

Cameron Smith can join Tiger Woods as the only Players and Masters Championship winners in the same year.

“It’s a very good name to face yours, isn’t it, really,” he said on Tuesday. “So I’m really looking forward to it. The course is beautiful. It’s as good as I’ve seen it. I’m really looking forward to Thursday.”

Smith said he doesn’t feel compelled to match Wood’s feat 21 years ago.

“Not particularly, mate…I’ve never been a real big golf nerd, to be honest,” he said. “I love golf and I love being creative and stuff like that, but I’ve never really been one to go down in history. Of course, I know all the guys. But, yeah, I don’t I’m not up to date on all the stats and all the records and everything.”

Still, he calls the possibility of matching a Tiger Woods feat “unreal”.

“It’s him you want your name to face, that’s for sure,” he said.

Smith said he took some time off after winning The Players, but felt recharged.

“It was nice to have a few weeks off after that,” he said. “It probably took me five or six days to fully recover from this week, I think. I spent a lot of time in the living room and doing nothing, you know. I had a good bit of training the last two weeks, back in the gym, body feeling great. Yeah…can’t wait.”

Horschel: Changes always benefit the big hitters

Augusta National Golf Club made the biggest changes this year to the par-4 11th hole and par-5 15th hole, which also involved more length. The 11th hole is now 520 yards (15 yards more) and the No. 15 is 550 yards (20 yards more).

The 11th tee has been moved further to the left and the trees on the right side of both fairways have been thinned out.

Billy Horschel chats with Tiger Woods on the Augusta National practice range April 3.

However, Billy Horschel of Ponte Vedra Beach said that no matter what the club does to try to reduce the length, the longer hitters have an advantage.

For example, Horschel said he hit a good shot at No. 15 on Monday, which would have resulted in a 5-iron in the green in recent years. He must have hit a 5 wood because his drive landed on the upslope of the fairway.

“The longer guys always have the edge on that hole because if they fly it far enough they fly it to a flat spot for kind of a downhill and it will kick and burn out a little bit more,” said he declared.

Brian Harman of St. Simons Island, Georgia, said he was able to hit the 15th green on his second shot in four rounds last year. But he won’t this year.

“I think it makes the tee shot at 15 easier just because it’s pretty wide where I hit it,” he said. “I’ll probably lie down anyway.”

Yuan promoted

Carl Yuan of China, who resides in Jacksonville, earned the first PGA Tour card by reaching 900 Korn Ferry Tour points.

Coming off his seventh tie last week at the Club Car Championship at the Landings Club in Savannah, Yuan has 941 points. The Korn Ferry Tour has estimated that 900 points or more will be enough to finish in the top 25 and earn a Tour card for 2022-23.

Yuan, 25, has four top-10 finishes in seven starts this season and won the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Yuan had 88 points in Savannah, with rounds of 64-73-65-74.

With 15 events remaining in the regular season, the Korn Ferry Tour currently uses 900 points as a safe threshold for players to finish in the top 25 on the points list.


Event: Masters Tournament, Thursday-Sunday, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.

At stake: $11.5 million in prize money in 2021 ($2,070,000 and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner).

Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama.

Television: ESPN

Registered local players: Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Vijay Singh, Cameron Smith, Hudson Swafford.

Notable: Matsuyama shot 65 in the third round and beat Will Zatoris by one shot at 10-under 278. … It was the first major championship for a Japanese player in history. … Tiger Woods has said he plans to play. He is due to start at 10:34 a.m. Thursday with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann. … A full contingent of Masters patrons will be in attendance after no fans were allowed into the 2020 fall tournament and limited attendance last year.