Masters 2019: 8 memorable moments from the Masters Par-3 Contest

April 10, 2019

The 2018 Masters Par-3 Contest provided us with two of the event’s most memorable moments (although one wasn’t for the right reasons). But don’t sell the Wednesday hit-and-giggle short. The Masters Par-3 Contest, ever since Sam Snead won the inaugural event in 1960, packs quite the punch.

Here are its most memorable moments from the past few years. Today’s event starts at noon and can be streamed on beginning at 2 p.m. (ET) and airs live on ESPN at 3 p.m.


Tony Finau’s day on the Masters short course went from euphoric to horrific in seconds. While running down the fairway to celebrate an ace on the 7th hole, Finau turned, backpedaled and stepped awkwardly on his left ankle. The cringe-worthy clip went viral after he popped his ankle back into place. He finished the round in excruciating pain, got an MRI the following morning and was told he was good to go. His opening round? A four-under 68, tied for the second-best score of the day. (More: Finau recounts his crazy par-3 ace.)


The Golden Bear unleashed a true, pure swing on the 130-yard 4th in 2015, making an ace while playing with Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson. What makes it even better? The GOAT called his shot. “It’s funny,” he said. “I had an interview this morning and I said, ‘Well, all I’ve got to do is go out and win the Par-3 and make a hole-in-one,’ and I make a hole-in-one.”


Jack Nicklaus has won six green jackets, yet he says none of them top watching his grandson, Gary, ace the par-3 9th during the Par-3 Contest. “My wins, that’s okay,” he said, “but to have your grandson make a hole‑in‑one and watch him do it, man, that’s amazing.”


Led by 80-year-old Gary Player’s ace, a record nine players made holes-in-one at the 2016 Masters. Player, David Lingmerth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Andy Sullivan, Webb Simpson, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson and Smylie Kaufman all cashed in. The previous record? Five.


What’s better than one ace? Making them consecutively, of course. Justin Thomas got his threesome started with an ace on the 4th hole, and Rickie Fowler made it back-to-back seconds later. But don’t feel too bad for the odd-man out in the group, Jordan Spieth, who owns a green jacket.


Woods struggled in 2014 and had back issues in early 2015, and no one knew if the 14-time major champ would commit to the Masters. He did, just in time, and then even played in the Par-3 Contest with then-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn and his kids — daughter, Sam (7 at the time); and son, Charlie (6) — as caddies. It was the first time Woods played the Par-3 in several years. “My two littles will be out there with me,” Woods said the day before. “It’s special.”

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn with Woods's kids, daughter Sam (7 at the time), and son Charlie (6), as caddies at the 2015 Masters Par-3 Contest.
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn with Woods's kids, daughter Sam (7 at the time), and son Charlie (6), as caddies at the 2015 Masters Par-3 Contest.
Getty Images


At age 59, Tom Watson nearly won the 2009 British Open at Turnberry. At 68, Watson become the oldest winner of the Masters Par-3 Contest, supplanting Sam Snead, who at 61 won in 1974. Watson shot a six-under 21 to win for the second time in his career. His other win in the event? In 1982. “Pretty good,” Watson said. “It’s the Watson of old.”


Who is the current man to beat on the Augusta National par-3 course? Jimmy Walker. Walker set the course record in 2016, when he used one ace and six birdies to shoot an eight-under 19. The previous record (20) was held by Art Wall Jr. and Gay Brewer.