The Masters is almost as much about traditions as it is about great golf. Its champions are set apart forever, and, by tradition, select the menu for the champion's dinner the following year. Both its pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches are traditions, as is the green jacket that Augusta National members wear on the course during the event. And, of course, each year's champion receives his own green jacket, another longstanding tradition.
But Wednesday at The Masters is also about another tradition--the tournament's Par Three championship. On a small par three course adjacent to Augusta National, current and former players have fun during a par-three tournament that allows for a much less exacting style of play than the event that follows. Many players bring their kids along as caddies, all of whom don white caddie uniforms just like the big boys (and girls) who carry the bags in The Masters itself. Truth be told, it's the kids who are the stars in this little event.
So we started our day by watching a couple of hours of real practice on the back nine on Wednesday, mostly around Number 16 and Amen Corner (Numbers 11, 12 and 13). By tradition, most golfers skipped balls across the pond to the green on Number 16, urged along by the crowd there. Many jumped up onto the green and others fell short. Then we made our way up the 18th fairway to the clubhouse and had lunch in the concession area nearby.
Afterwards, we walked over to the par three course and found a spot on the 6th green and watched several groups come through. Due to our long drive home, we left the course long before a winner was declared. But one thing's for sure--whoever did win that event won't be crowned champion of The Masters on Sunday. It just never seems to happen.
Call it tradition.
Fredrik Jacobson, of Sweden, brought his son along as his caddy for the par three tournament on Wednesday
A group of international visitors made a color-coordinated splash in the concession area on Wednesday
Patrons awaited golfers at Number 10 green on Wednesday in Augusta
Volunteers manned an information booth near Amen Corner at The Masters
Tiger Woods lined up a putt on Number 16 while Sean O'Hair looked on during Wednesday's practice round