Weir, Hughes share Par 3 title, eye history next

Weir, Hughes share Par 3 title, eye history next

AUGUSTA, Ga. — As tradition dictates, there is now very bad news to report about Canadian golfers Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes. Neither will win the Masters.

That is, if you believe the superstition — or at least, believe in the history. No player has won the Par 3 Contest and gone on to win the Masters in the same year, a trend that Weir and Hughes will both try to buck when this year’s tournament starts Thursday.

Weir and Hughes shared the Par 3 title on Wednesday, both finishing 4 under. Play started late because of the threat of weather and ended early when more inclement weather was approaching the area.

“It’s fun. This is a very special day for me,” Hughes said. “This is my third Masters and my first Par 3 Contest. I was really excited to get out here and do this. Very lucky that the weather held off for us.”

Depending on how you count, Hughes either had three caddies or zero caddies. He carried his own bag, while caddy No. 1 (his wife) kept watchful eyes on caddies No. 2 and No. 3 (their kids).

“My youngest, Cohen, he’s 16 months on Monday, so he wanted to get after every ball on the green, heading towards lakes,” Hughes said. “So, definitely priority No. 1 was to keep them on grass. Did that.”

It was the first Par 3 event at the Masters — the traditional, family friendly Wednesday afternoon prequel to the real thing — since 2019. The 2020 and 2021 events didn’t happen because of the pandemic.

Some of the “patrons” on the short course, with holes ranging from 70 to about 140 yards in length, didn’t exactly behave. Sergio Garcia missed the green at No. 1, perhaps because a child loudly announced during Garcia’s swing that he’d be taking a turn next. Kids ran on the greens, others jumped up and down by the tee boxes.

Obviously, nobody minded.

“Special family time,” Justin Rose said.

Caddies hit balls into the water, wives took putts for their tour-player husbands — Lacey Homa had a birdie for her husband Max — and about 40 players were technically ineligible to win because someone else played their ball at some point during the contest.

Again, nobody minded that, either.

“I think as you get older you understand to appreciate even more,” said 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who finished a shot back Wednesday. “Having the Par 3 back this year is a blast. It is so special. I can’t put into words how special it is.”

There are 11 men who have won both the Masters and the Par-3 Contest — Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Tommy Aaron, Sandy Lyle, Gay Brewer and Art Wall Jr.

Just never in the same year.

Weir, however, said he didn’t believe in the Par 3 winning jinx.

“You come out and you want to hit some good shots and get a good feel and leave a good taste in your mouth,” Weir said.

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