The Masters isn’t just another golf tournament. The most prestigious of golf’s four majors is an event unlike any in the world of sports, and it has more to offer than just four rounds of elite golf.
With almost a week of media coverage, interviews and special events, Augusta National is the home to the sport’s most fan-friendly tournaments, highlighted by the annual Wednesday Par 3 Contest.
Like the rest of the tournament, the Par 3 Contest is about more than great shots and long putts. It’s an opportunity to experience the aspects that make golf such an appealing sport.
There isn’t any money or prestige to be earned from winning the contest, but the family environment, legendary participants and general sense of enjoyment makes it a staple of the greatest golf tournament of the year.
Let’s take a closer look at the things that make it such an enjoyable event.
The biggest cheers from the gallery at Augusta can be heard when a golfer rolls in a tee shot from 200-plus yards away. Holes-in-one are rare, but they’re much more prevalent in the Par 3 Contest on a noticeably shorter course.
Since the event began in 1960, 77 tee shots have found their way into the hole, including two in the 2013 edition. You might not ever record an ace at the local track, but there’s always a chance of seeing one in the Par 3 Contest.
Golf may not be everyone’s favorite spectator sport, but there’s no denying the significance of its legends teeing off year after year on Augusta’s hallowed grounds. It’s a tradition that can’t be topped.
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have done so much for the sport as both champions and ambassadors. Watching the three play another round at Augusta is truly special, and it’s something we can’t take for granted.
With 34 major championships among them, the trio of legends truly dominated the sport for decades, and they continue to be positive influences on the younger generation learning about golf and its history.
Golf’s greatest icons won’t be around forever, and it’s a wonderful tradition honoring them at the Masters every year.
The Future Legends
The Par 3 Contest offers the opportunity for Masters participants to bring their families to the course for a little relaxation before the grueling four days that follow, including those who are barely tall enough to hold a golf club.
Winning doesn’t matter on Wednesday, and many golfers bring their children to the contest to take a few swings and attempt some putts in front of a smiling, encouraging crowd. For a brief time before the drama that fills the weekend, the world’s best golfers have a chance to focus on the more important things.
You don’t have to be a golf fan to appreciate the sentimental aspects of the Par 3 Contest. In fact, the event serves to open the door to those who wouldn’t ordinarily enjoy watching golf in front of a television.