In a custom that has become just as highly anticipated as the Masters Tournament itself, the Masters Par 3 Tournament took place on Wednesday afternoon with American Ryan Moore coming out on top with a six-under-par 21.
Golf Digest shared the result for Moore shortly after his round finished, accompanied by a picture of him and his son that might just break the cuteness scale:
The win for Moore was sweet, as he nearly broke the record for the Par 3 course, but his play could have been even better through the shortened links.
Moore spoke about the struggles he had during his putting game, per Jason Sobel of Golf Channel:
Just spoke with Ryan Moore. He shot 6-under in Par-3 Contest and missed three putts inside 9 feet. "I legitimately could've been 9-under."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 9, 2014
Here's a look at the top 10 golfers from Wednesday. Full results can be found at Masters.com.
While it isn't an official win for Moore, it does prove that the 31-year-old has returned to the great play that he showed at the beginning of the season. His last win came in the CIMB Classic in October 2013, but two top-10 finishes in January appeared to be a great start to the season for the Tacoma, Wash., native.
Moore would experience a drop-off shortly after, as he was cut from the Northern Trust and finished outside the top 20 in both the WGC-Cadillac tournament and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
As history would have it, Moore's chances for taking home the crown at the Masters is now exponentially damaged, considering no player has ever won both tournaments in the same year. SportsCenter notes that fact on Twitter:
Bad news if you have Ryan Moore in your Masters pool. He won the Par 3 Contest today, but no Par 3 winner has ever won the tournament.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 9, 2014
Moore is clearly not worried about that statistic, however, as he told Chris Gay of The Augusta Chronicle:
"I'm not afraid of it," Moore said. "Someone has got to break that curse at some point in time, so hopefully it's me."
One other notable part of the Par 3 tournament was the revelation that Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy's girlfriend, showed up to Augusta with pink hair and was caddying for McIlroy, per For the Win:
McIlroy shot a one-under 26 on the day.
Just behind Moore's dominant round at the Par 3 tournament, Kevin Stadler and Fuzzy Zoeller made their presence felt with rounds of a four-under 23 to put pressure on Moore.
As for potential contenders when the main tournament officially gets underway on Thursday, Zach Johnson (two under), Jason Day (one under) and Jordan Spieth (one under) all produced good rounds. Spieth has been generating buzz over the last several months with his great play, and his pairing for the Masters also drew some attention, as John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal points out:
Best Masters pairing for Thursday: Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Speith. Also good: Mickelson, Els and Justin Rose at 1:48 pm— John Paul Newport (@jpnewport) April 8, 2014
Another player who fared well on Wednesday was Matt Jones. The 33-year-old Australian has never played at the Masters but was the last entry after winning the Houston Open.
Jones got his first tournament at Augusta started with a bang as he earned a hole-in-one early in the Par 3 tournament, per the PGA Tour's official Twitter account:
It's good to be Matt Jones. Aced the 3rd hole of the Par 3 Contest, 3 days after earning the last #Masters invite.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 9, 2014
Though Moore comes away from the tournament with the potential of breaking the curse, he emerged as one of many contenders to end up near the top of the pack when the Masters begin on Thursday.
With Johnson and Day playing well, the two golfers looked like prize fighters just getting in the opening blows before breaking out this weekend. Both are favorites to take the title and should be able to carry the momentum over into the actual tournament.
As for Spieth, the young gun might have shaken some of those jitters and will play much more comfortably with Rory McIlroy on Thursday.
Now with all the lead-up and intrigue of the first major out of the way, it's time for the Masters to officially steal the show back at Augusta.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.