Tom Watson Makes History at Masters Par-Three Contest

The par-three contest at the Masters gives the players an opportunity to let their hair down. It has a unique feel to it and caters to the family and friends of the players. Often there will be wives, children, grandchildren, and friends caddying. Caddies are encouraged to hit shots during the contest, which makes for fantastic viewing. It does, however, rule out a player’s eligibility to win the event should their caddie hit a shot.

This isn’t a problem for most of the players, as winning the par-three contest is believed to be bad luck. No one who has ever won the par-three shootout has gone on to claim a Green Jacket – so making themselves ineligible to win is often one of the goals. There are some who don’t buy into the superstition and give winning a good go, however.

Tom Watson was one and it is to be expected, at 68 years of age, Watson’s chances of taming Augusta are virtually nil. The eight-time major winner could afford to tempt fate by trying to win the par-three contest as he no longer competes in the main event. Watson bowed out of the Masters in 2016 when he made his final appearance.

Tom Watson and caddy, Turnberry
Tom Watson and caddy, Turnberry“(CC BY-ND 2.0)by StartAgain

That hasn’t stopped Watson enjoying the winning feeling at Augusta. Watson became the oldest player to win the par-three contest by finishing on six under. He was accompanied by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in a three-ball that provided more than one moment of magic. Nicklaus let his grandson Gary hit the final tee shot on the ninth hole. The youngster would make a hole in one and send the golfing world into meltdown.;

Nicklaus embraced his grandson with a tear in his eye and said they had spoken about that a couple of days earlier. Speaking about a hole in one and executing are two very different things. It was a fantastic moment that epitomized exactly what the par-three contest is about.

Jack Nicklaus at The Masters

Jack Nicklaus at The Masters“(CC BY 2.0)pocketwiley

Tommy Fleetwood would come second to Watson, but seemed relieved that he had. Fleetwood hasn’t ever won a major and kept his Masters’ chances alive in his career after Watson beat him. Fleetwood is a golfer to keep an eye on after winning the 2017 Race to Dubai. The man from Southport is 25/1 in the latest golf odds to win the Open and many believe that is the major that suits him most. At 27, Fleetwood has time on his side as he chases further accolades in his career. Winning this famed par-three contest is something Fleetwood will feel he can do without.

As for Tom Watson, he has won both the Masters and the Open. He now also has the world’s most prestigious par-three contest to his name. You can be absolutely certain that it means a lot to Watson. After all, he was one of the few competitors not to let their caddie hit a shot on the final hole. That competitive streak couldn’t be overcome when he found out he had a shot of winning. His caddie will have to wait until next year to get a swing.

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