Masters live blog: Par 3 Contest
Throughout this week, ESPN.com golf editor Jason Sobel will be live blogging from the Masters, bringing you inside information and analysis from Augusta National Golf Club. Refresh this page often to keep track of all the entries during each round.
Have a question or comment for Sobel? E-mail him at email@example.com:00 p.m.: OK, I think the all-time record for "Live Blogging During a Noncompetitive Golf Competition" is safe for now, considering I've outkicked the ESPN coverage by an hour. More live blogging bright and early at 8 a.m. Thursday, so keep sending those e-mails to the address above and I'll try not to oversleep. No promises. 5:54 p.m.: Miguel Angel Jimenez for birdie and it's no good! Rory Sabbatini is your Par 3 champion! Not the first news he's made this week. In case you missed it, Sabbatini said the following to The Sunday Times:
- "Tiger's untouchable, apparently, a protected species. I guess it's like the migratory eagle that [Nationwide Tour professional] Tripp Isenhour shot. If you take aim, you will be prosecuted. He is on a pedestal, unfortunately. You can't even talk about him.
When it comes to making other players uncomfortable, Tiger probably leads the field. We're out there competing. It's the nature of the beast. I'm not out there to be anyone else's cheerleader. I'm out there to do my job. At least with me, people know where they stand. There are never any grey areas."
- Do you think the curse of the Par 3 Contest is real?
- "I'll be playing the Par 3 competition and trying to win it again hoping that three times might be a charm.
I believe that if you want to put some spin on it superstitious-wise, I believe if you win it twice, you're bound to win the actual event."
- When I hear "Par 3," what comes to mind is elongated rubber tube tees adjacent artificial turf tee mats; protection from other hackers on the course via netting or unscaleable walls, and the waft of cheap cigars and empty beer cans all around the trash cans located at every tee. I realize that the Masters is showcasing its Par 3 Contest for the first time today, and I suppose it's somewhat interesting, but my personal preference would be to watch touring PGA pros play the type of Par 3 courses we grew up with next to the city dump or Farmer Ted's strawberry field. I mean, wouldn't you actually pay to see a touring pro absolutely destroy the course record at a real Par 3 course, but having to use the aforementioned rubber tees and artificial mats? This has to be done. I think I'm on to something here.
- Even money says that if Rory Sabbatini winds up winning the Par 3 Contest, he'll make a comment about Tiger being beatable this weekend (even though he didn't participate today).
- "I choked my guts out. That's all I can say. I flat-out choked. I played like a dog the last nine holes. When you're in the lead and you play that poorly for nine holes, you're choking. I'm not afraid to admit it. I always battle my nerves and some days I battle them better than others. All I did today was I probably putted the best I've putted in my career just to have a chance, because I was puking my guts out."
- All the little caddie outfits are on loan from Ian Woosnam. He takes care of them all year long.
- Speaking of Hooters, have you seen or heard whether or not John Daly is setting up shop again?
- "Midwest home-cooking and some Florida flair, if you will," Johnson said today.
The main course will be corn-fed beef.
"Go figure," Johnson said.
There also will be ahi tuna for those who don't want steak
"And shrimp," Johnson added. "My wife [Kim] is from Amelia Island, so that's a shrimp mecca. And I've got corn, obviously. I think we've got corn casserole, or, if I'm not mistaken, corn pudding."
And there will be more.
"We've got some crab cakes, because this is a crab cake area. Some good vegetables, salads and I think there's a bisque. So it's going to be pretty good."
- Tell the truth: How many egg salad sandwiches have you had? They are sooooo good and soooo cheap!
Nicklaus: "Depends on which Thursday." Now, that's a guy who knows his way around an interview! By the way, here's a great stat for you: Of the four people just mentioned, North has the second-most U.S. Open titles with two -- the same number as Player and Palmer combined. 4:22 p.m.: This live blog is sooo global. E-mail from Anders Dielessen in Utrecht, The Netherlands, with an answer to an earlier question:
The reason why Wayne Grady is at Augusta is because he is part of the BBC crew which covers the Masters. Kind of strange that a Dutchman has to tell an American why an Australian who is working for a British broadcaster has to clarify this!
- Shooting your age is a pretty big accomplishment for a golfer. What's the equivalent on a Par 3 course? Shooting the number of clubs in your bag (tough when only carrying a handful of clubs)? Shooting your shoe size?
Nicklaus wasn't happy the first time around in 2000, only two years after he threatened to write the greatest golf story of all time by nearly winning the Masters at fifty-eight.
Following his opening round in 2000, Nicklaus decided to practice rather than join Palmer and Player for a TV interview and a news conference; he later appeared for both alone, once Arnold and Gary were done. "A childish performance," wrote the author John Feinstein for America Online.
Jack didn't want to cause too much of a stir; he'd just been honored at the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame with a statue depicting his victorious, post-putt pose on the seventeenth green at the 1986 Masters. But he couldn't understand how a player who had outscored Tiger Woods two years earlier could be lumped in with the older, noncompetitive tandem of Palmer and Player. Especially Palmer.
On the final hole of their second round, Arnold needed multiple swings to get his ball out of a bunker. "Hit it harder," Jack barked at him. "I want to play."
Nicklaus missed his par putt from seven feet but shot two-under 70 to land six strokes off David Duval's lead. Palmer, meanwhile, finished his tournament at sixteen over and trudged off the green without shaking Nicklaus's hand.
"Arnold never said he enjoyed playing with me and Gary, never shook our hands," Jack said. "That was probably the most irritated I ever was at Arnold."
- Since we hear so little about it, can you post the scorecard for the Par 3 course?
No. 2: 70 yards
No. 3: 90 yards
No. 4: 130 yards
No. 5: 130 yards
No. 6: 140 yards
No. 7: 115 yards
No. 8: 120 yards
No. 9: 135 yards
3:56 p.m.: E-mail from Rob in Dallas:
- Since the members at Augusta National have said that they are allowing ESPN to televise the Par 3 tournament as a way to grow the game of golf, should Tiger be playing in it? I know that all players can decide if they want to or not, but if that is the reason that we get to see it, shouldn't the No. 1 draw in golf be a part of it?
- "I never played it in the years that I had a chance to win. Two reasons. I suppose one, I'm a little superstitious like everybody else. The reason that I didn't play a lot was that I think you play a practice round on Wednesday preparing yourself for a golf tournament. Is it too much to ask the players to play? No, it's not too much. But in the days when I was competitive and felt like I had a chance, I had so much energy focused on wanting to win that golf tournament that it was a distraction for me and nothing I wanted to do. As time went on, and I'm not a serious competitor anymore, I didn't spend all that energy. So it was fun to go play it and enjoy it."
- 1. You always see a kid putting with his dad on a hole. Are there specific rules for this thing or is it that casual?
- 2. Is there a prize for the winner?
3. You're telling me that a major champion from 1989 flew himself there to play a nine-hole Par 3 tournament??? I know it's the Masters and all, but it's still a nine-hole Par 3 tournament on your own dime with no discernable prize for winning. What was Wayne's take from the PGA Championship, you ask?? $225,000!
- Thank goodness they didn't ask Shawn Kemp or Evander Holyfield to play in this Par 3 Contest. There would be a three-hour back-up on the tees if Shawn let all of his kids putt out on the last hole.
- There are rumors going around that he tried to stiff an Augusta National member on a big bet he lost (well over $100,000) within the last few weeks. I understand you guys probably want no part of that, but for the love of God encourage SOMEBODY with less to lose to look into that!
- You kind of brushed aside the aces by Freddie and Wayne Grady. Are they that common for pros on a Par 3 course?
Me: Have you before?
Me: So why not this year?
Colin: [Shrug]. Tough reporters ask the tough questions and that's how we get these classic answers. If there are any journalism professors out there, feel free to use this for Interviewing 101. 3:15 p.m.: Ace for Steve Flesch. This course isn't as easy as it looks, though. From Augusta native Charles Howell III:
- "The course is probably underrated. Most people don't even realize that it's over there. The Par 3 Contest gives it popularity. But the greens are every bit as good as the golf course. It's maintained every bit as well. It's kind of an extension of Augusta National, it just keeps going."
- I have nothing against Phil Mickelson; he's played well a couple of times this year. But why do you give him so much praise to win? I think Geoff [Ogilvy] has a better chance than him, even though Tiger will win it.
- "It's a great way to relieve of some of the stress or pressure you feel heading into a major. Guys really have fun on the nine holes and someone like myself who has little children who caddie, we as parents look back on those pictures and those memories, and sharing that time together is some of the greatest time we have had together in the game. I think that's such a great element to this tournament."
- "It's changed over the years. Used to be, I thought was a lot of fun to play, but now it is a little bit distracting to get ready and be ready for the tournament."
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2008 MASTERS TOURNAMENT
When: Thursday-Sunday, April 10-13
Where: Augusta National Golf Club
Yardage/Par: 7,445 yards; par 72
2007 champion: Zach Johnson
Details: Course | Field | Tee times
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