Rule-breaking at Augusta National? For a few glorious hours, it’s all but encouraged

Jordan Spieth and son at Masters Par-3 Contest

Jordan and Sammy Spieth at the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.

Darren Riehl

AUGUSTA, Ga. — You know the deal ‘round these parts: no phones, no running, no napping, et al.

But for a few gloriously chaotic hours Wednesday afternoon of Masters Week, those commandments go out the window. Behold, the Par 3 Contest, where putter-toting, jumpsuit-wearing toddlers seize Augusta National like a pack of adorable warlords.

Here, on the Wednesday afternoon of this year’s tournament, was Steven Kisner, Kevin’s young son, wielding a blue Fisher-Price golf club! There was Jordan Schwartzel, pants rolled up and tippy-toeing barefoot across a green! And here were DJ and Paulina’s boys fighting, as brothers do, over who got to bang a putt! Snow-angels on the sod? Sure, there was some of that going on, too. Backward-turned hats? Yup, they were seemingly everywhere. Was this an invite-only affair on Augusta National’s new-look short course…or Caddie Day at Bushwood?

Little Kisner was all business. Darren Riehl

Even the adults were running roughshod. Gary Player hugging patrons and jogging down a fairway. Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim and Sam Burns simultaneously firing off three tee shots (and holing one of them!). Max Homa pulling out his iPhone to snap a photo of his infant, Cam. Madness!

But no participants were more reliably unruly than the kiddos, disorderly as they were delightful.

Enter Sammy Spieth, the 17-month-old toddler-king of this lush, lawless dystopia. When Annie Spieth placed down her son on the fringe by the 6th green, intending for him to take a few sips from a plastic water bottle, Sammy had a better idea. He squeezed the container, squirting water all over the already well-watered turf. That was so much fun Sammy did it again!

A few moments later, he was on the loose, beelining for a bunker behind the green. Seeing where her little was headed, Annie swooped in for what is sure to be one of the week’s best sand saves. As Dad and his playing partners — Justin Thomas and Max Homa — holed out, Annie picked up Sammy and put him in the middle of the green. Surely he couldn’t find any mischief there. When he spotted his father, though, Sammy rose to his feet and started waddling toward him. One pace, two paces, three paces — and timberrrrr! Sammy tumbled to the turf like a felled oak, drawing a collective awww from the assembled patrons.

A scene from the Wednesday Par-3 Contest. Darren Riehl

But the show wasn’t over yet! Jordan dropped a ball about 10 or 12 feet from the hole, gave Sammy his putter and guided him into position to take a swipe. The putter was longer than Sammy is tall and the slick putt not an easy one, but need we remind you of this kid’s last name? There’s magic in his genes. Father and son collectively drew back the putter, tapped the ball and — what other result could there be? — draino. The crowd roared.

On the next tee, the little showman kept on rolling. After his father had flipped a wedge up to the 7th green and dutifully replaced his divot, Sammy couldn’t resist one more cheeky act. He plunked himself down next to the spot from where his father had hit, removed the piece of recently repaired turf and held it up.

Patrons laughed, sensing what was coming next.

With both hands on the chunk of sod, Sammy applied pressure to each side and tore it in half.

His father looked at a green-jacketed official manning the tee box and shrugged.

“Sorry,” he said.  

Alan Bastable Editor

As’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.