You’ve already heard about what an aggressive spring have done to the beautiful flashes of white, pink, and red that the azaleas of Augusta provide, but Mother Nature claimed another tradition of The Masters as a casualty on Wednesday afternoon. The Par 3 contest was cancelled after a storm cell blew in at the beginning of ESPN’s broadcast of the cherished event.
One of the greatest spectacles that The Masters provides, in a week full of revered traditions, has always been watching the “Big Three” tee off in the annual Par 3 Contest. Unfortunately, with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player all in the latter stages of life, patrons were robbed of one of the last opportunities to see the three legends in action.
However, in limited action before play was suspended, Palmer and Player provided a couple of signature Par 3 moments.
On the first, from just off the green, and settled nicely in the collar, “The Black Knight” unleashed about a 35-footer that curled back up to the right and onto the slope before gently riding gravity back down and diving into the hole for a birdie. On the following hole, “The King” skipped a wedge through the fringe and road a ridge that carried the ball from left to right back towards the hole, just missing an ace before settling in four feet from the hole.
Palmer would finish out for birdie, and also stuffed his tee shot on the third, but regrettably, that’s when the horn sounded suspending play.
Weather is expected to be a major factor throughout the first couple of rounds of The Masters, with showers and potentially thunderstorms expected on Thursday and Friday. Luckily, storms are expected to be scattered and the sun is scheduled to make an appearance during the weekend.
In other Par 3 notes, Padraig Harrington and Jonathan Byrd both put up matching scores of 22 to tie at the top of the leaderboard, and Mark Wilson and Thomas Bjorn added the 74th and 75th aces in the 53-year history of the Par 3 Contest.
Play is scheduled to begin tomorrow at 7:50 a.m. and 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler, Brendan Steele, and Tim Clark are scheduled to lead the way. Live coverage of The Masters will begin at 3 p.m. on ESPN.