Is he cursed? Ryan Moore wins Par 3 Contest
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Par 3 Contest, the unique tournament that no one seems to want to win.
Unless you're Ryan Moore, and you just blitzed the Augusta National par-3 course to the tune of six birdies in nine holes to capture the title by two shots over Kevin Stadler and Fuzzy Zoeller.
No one has ever won the Par 3 Contest and gone on to win the Masters, which starts Thursday at 7:40 a.m. EDT.
"I don't believe in any of that other stuff about, you know, the curse or whatever. I mean, the reality is the odds of winning both are not very high," said Moore, who had his son Tucker by his side for the round. "So you know, just hasn't happened yet. So obviously I'm happy to be the first person to break that."
PHOTOS: Masters Par 3 Contest, 2014
See the family atmosphere that has helped make the Par-3 Contest part of Augusta National's rich tradition during Masters week!
Of the 106 players to partake in Wednesday's contest, only 38 actually posted an official score – meaning 68 chose to have their caddie or child take a shot for them at some point.
Ian Poulter's caddie made the birdie putt on the ninth green and quipped to a fellow caddie, "He is way too superstitious to putt that one." Poulter was 2 under heading to the ninth hole, and if he had made the putt, he would have tied Bernhard Langer at 3 under for the clubhouse lead.
Langer, however, was happy to post his score.
"I don't believe in that stuff. Period," said Langer.
What the 106 players could agree on is that the Par 3 Contest provides a relaxed, positive atmosphere to get the competitive week started.
"I tell people it's the only greens I can reach in regulation," said two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw.
First-timer Harris English even had to fight off a bit of nerves – thankfully, his fill-in caddie for the day, his mother, knows how to deal with that quite well.
"I was definitely a little nervous out there because people are standing so close on the green. I don't want to hit people, but I guess it will get the nerves out a little bit, I guess," said English.
"(My mom) did good. She don't know a whole lot about golf. She handed me tees every hole and took my putter head cover off. She did good. This is an experience we'll always remember."
There was some incredibly good shotmaking Wednesday as well, with three aces recorded. Mark O'Meara picked up the day's first at the second hole – his second career ace in the Par 3 Contest – while Buddy Alexander (No. 2) and Matt Jones (No. 3) also sent the patrons into a tizzy with their expert marksmanship.
Moore likened Wednesday to an opportunity to fine-tune key parts of his game that will be needed on the big course come Thursday.
"I've been putting a lot of work on with my wedges with my coach. To come out and hit a bunch of good wedges, that's just good positive, you know, reinforcement that we're working on good stuff," said Moore. I hit a few tap‑ins and the rest of the shots were great looking shots. That's obviously a positive.
"As much as anything it was just fun. I had my wife out there. I had my 17‑month‑old boy out there. I was chasing him, watching him try to jump in bunkers."
Who knows? Maybe the Moore duo chased off the Par 3 voodoo while they were at it.