Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Par 3 Contest History

Tomorrow, ESPN will broadcast the Par 3 Contest at Augusta National's par 3 track. To get it out of the way, no winner of the contest has ever gone on to win the Masters. But, Tod Leonard from the San Diego Union-Tribune did a hell of a job in setting the stage by doing a preview piece. In it, I found this part the most interesting - something I had forgotten.

In 2004, Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Eduardo Romero tied for first in regulation, but Woods begged out of the playoff, citing a “previous commitment.” Did Tiger fear the curse?

Probably not, and neither did it seem to spook Harrington.

A two-time Par-3 winner, the Irishman said after his '04 win, “Somebody's got to do it, and hopefully I will be the one. This is early in the week to be making a speech – I would prefer to do it on Sunday – but if you don't win this, you can't make two speeches!”

On a macabre level, this was also interesting about the fate of the Augusta National co-founder Cliff Roberts:

In a harrowing twist, the Par-3 Course – the thing he championed and was so proud of – was the last thing Cliff Roberts saw in his life.

In September 1977, Roberts, 83, returned to Augusta a few weeks before the course's traditional October reopening. On Sept. 29, someone saw him driving a golf cart in the dark, which wasn't all that unusual for Roberts.

But when Roberts didn't appear for breakfast the next morning, the staff went looking for him. His body was discovered on the bank of Ike's Pond, to the left of the then-eighth hole on the Par-3 Course. Dressed in only a raincoat, pajama bottoms and shoes, Roberts had shot himself in the head with a .38 pistol.

In his will, Roberts asked that his ashes be scattered at Augusta National. That location has remained a secret, but among the most rumored spots: Ike's Pond.

No comments: