AUGUSTA, Ga. (Masters.com) – Tommy Fleetwood’s plan was foiled Wednesday when, for the first time in its 56-year history, the Par 3 Contest at the Masters Tournament was canceled.
Because of inclement weather and safety concerns, Augusta National Golf Club was forced to suspend play and eventually evacuate the grounds at 1:25 p.m. for the rest of the day.
That necessitated the cancellation of the Par 3 Contest, which had a delayed start because of a morning wave of storms. The grounds were closed for the first time at 10 a.m.
No winner was declared.
“The safety of everyone on our grounds was the determining factor in the decision to close and course and cancel the Par 3 Contest,” said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament. “We share in the disappointment of our patrons, but the safety of everyone on our grounds is always our primary concern.”
Fleetwood, a Masters rookie from England, was poised to play the Par 3 Contest alongside Fuzzy Zoeller, the 1979 Masters champion.
Zoeller is the only golfer since 1935 to win the Masters in his first attempt.
“I actually put my name down with Fuzzy Zoeller in the Par 3 because I know he’s the only one who has won the first time,” Fleetwood said. “I thought maybe that might give me some vibes.
“You do never know. I’m not setting my expectations, I’m not going to sit here and say I expect to win. But you never know. You’ve just got to get your head down, and it’s me against the golf course, and it’s just me plugging on in my career whatever happens.”
During the first three days of Masters week, it’s been the players against Mother Nature. Fleetwood was not among the players who got onto the short course before play was suspended.
But if Fleetwood is looking for a vibe, how’s this: The 1979 Masters also was hit by adverse weather conditions. Friday’s second round was suspended, then restarted two hours later before finally being suspended and rescheduled for Saturday morning.
Another bit of good news for Fleetwood is that there wasn’t a Par 3 Contest for him to win. No contest winner has won the Masters in the same year as his short-course victory.
In Wednesday’s abbreviated play, Mike Weir made a hole-in-one on the No. 4, one of six he played, and was tied with Brendan Steele (four holes) at 3-under at the time of the suspension. Bernhard Langer was 2-under after two holes.