Canadians Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes were declared co-winners of Wednesday’s storm-halted Masters Par-3 Contest, putting them in the path of the dreaded Masters curse.
Continuing this Augusta National tradition, revived after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, Weir and Hughes fired four-under-par 23s on the specially designed course.
Masters players had a light-hearted atmosphere, with their children often serving as caddies, until a storm developed and officials ended the contest for safety reasons before some golfers had even teed off.
With the contest’s return came the return of the Masters Par-3 winner’s curse, with no champion of the Masters-eve event having ever won the Green Jacket in the same year.
It was the third time in Par-3 history, dating to 1960, that two men shared the title, with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington tying for top honours with Americans David Toms in 2003 and Jonathan Byrd in 2012.
Hughes and Weir will try to overcome the hoodoo to don a Green Jacket on Sunday.
Weir, the 2003 Masters winner, went out in the second group and set the early standard.
“It’s always such a great tradition here to be playing this,” Weir said. “You come out and you want to hit some good shots, get a good feel and leave a good taste in your mouth.”
As for the curse, 51-year-old disbeliever Weir adopted the motto of Mark O’Meara, the 1998 Masters champion who won the Par-3 Contest in 2007.
“I like Mark’s line,” left-hander Weir said. “He said he already had the Green Jacket.”
Hughes (31), who won his only PGA title in 2016 at the RSM Classic on the nearby Georgia coast, didn’t fret the curse. He was just happy to finish alongside his two children.
“I was really excited to get out here and do this,” Hughes said. “It was a special day. To have a family day like this before one of the biggest tournaments of the year is pretty cool.”
American Jason Kokrak made the only hole-in-one, acing the 130-yard fourth.
Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, with three titles in the past two months, enjoyed the relaxed affair before Thursday’s start of the year’s first Major.
“Golf has been treating me pretty good. It’s awesome to be out here,” Scheffler said. “I’ve prepared the best I can to play well.”
Reigning US Open champion Jon Rahm, whose son was born the Saturday before last year’s Masters, enjoyed having him in baby caddie attire.
“It’s really cool they let us do this with the family and it’s a very nice event to have before starting the Masters,” Rahm said. “It’s fun to do before something so demanding. I’m glad we have it back.”
Rory McIlroy was there with daughter Poppy, although their stay was a short one.
“Even though we only got one hole in because of this weather, it was fun and I’m glad we got to do it,” McIlroy said.
© Agence France-Presse