Phil lines up a putt with his caddies in 2008

Phil gets a better read after another missed putt

It’s no secret at Augusta. If you plan on winning the green jacket, don’t win the Par-3 contest on Wednesday. Since it was first played in 1960, no Par-3 contest winner has gone on to win the Masters in the same week.

The Masters Par-3 Contest has a history and tradition of its own. The 9-hole, 1,060-yard, par 27 course plays host to the pre-tournament challenge and includes players in the field, non-competing past winners and honorary invitees. The holes range from 70 to 140 yards and some say “may be the most beautiful nine holes in golf.” Since Sam Snead won the inagural contest in 1960, there have been 67 aces and Art Wall (1965) and Gay Brewer (1973) share the course record of 20.

One of the big draws for the contest for both the players and 35,000 spectators is the laid-back atmosphere. It’s not very often that you get to see 3-year-old caddies and kids putting out for their dads. Phil Mickelson likes to play in the short game tune-up every year for that reason…hang out with his kids and relax a little before the fun and pressure starts on Thursday. Other players don’t always play in it for the same reason. Tiger has played in it a couple of times but feels it has changed and now can be a little “distracting.” Jack Nicklaus has said that he always had so much energy focused on winning that it was a distraction he didn’t need. Is the Wednesday win a curse? Jack thought so…at least a little bit. The other reason he often skipped the event is because he was “superstitious like everybody else.” The jinx is the only exlaination as to why some players refuse to finish and/or “putt” into the pond (see video below).

Somebody will eventually win them both but there must be a reason that none of the greats have done it yet. Phil would love to be the one to break the Par-3 jinx and has one of the best quotes to sum up the entire Wednesday event and its atmosphere:

“I’d love to be the first to win them both, but I have just never had a chance to win the Par 3,” he said. “My caddie [daughter Sophia Isabel] gave me some terrible reads last year. Of course, she was only 5. But still.”

If anyone has been to the Par-3 Contest, please tell us your story in the comments section below.