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How Par 3 winners perform at the Masters

Masters 2018: Here's how Par 3 winners do in the full tournament

It's become part of Masters canon that no player who has won the Par 3 Contest has gone on to win the tournament. We wondered, how do players who win the Par 3 event actually do in the tournament? Do they tend to underperform or do they play as well as anyone else? 

First, some background.

The Masters Par 3 Contest has been a staple of the tournament since 1960 when Sam Snead won the nine-hole competition with a score of 4-under. 

Snead — who won the Masters in 1949, 1952, and 1954 — would go on to place 11th in the tournament after his Par 3 win. Little did he know what precedent he was setting.

In the 57 years since, no golfer who has won the Par 3 contest has gone on to win the Masters in the same year.

There have been some close calls.

In 1990, Raymond Floyd won the pre-tournament contest at -4. Floyd would go on to lead the Masters field after the second and third rounds, and held a four-shot lead with six holes left. But a late Nick Faldo charge led to a sudden-death playoff, which Floyd lost on the second hole.

Only one other Par 3 winner came within one place of the green jacket. In 1993, Chip Beck posted a 6-under to win the Par 3 contest, before coming in four strokes behind Bernhard Langer for second place.

Only 11 Par 3 winners have ever finished in the top 10, and recent results don’t look good. In seven of the past 12 years (not counting 2017, where the contest was canceled due to rain), the Par 3 winner failed to even make the cut.

Here's what we get when we compare the score of every Par 3 winner who made the tournament cut to the tournament winner's score. 

Chart of Par 3 winner performance in Masters compared to overall winner

Of the 58 Par 3 winners who played in the Masters the same year, 18 didn't make the cut. The average score for the remaining 40 is 1.5 strokes above par, compared to an average of 9.3 strokes below par for the Masters winners in those years. In 57 years, only 16 players who won the Par 3 event finished the Masters below par that year.

So, to answer the question that started all this, how do players who win the Par 3 event actually do in the tournament? Not very well at all.

Here’s the full list of every Par 3 winner and how they performed in the tournament:

Year Par 3 winner Par 3 score Masters finish Masters score
1960 Sam Snead −4 T11 4
1961 Deane Beman −5 CUT N/A
1962 Bruce Crampton −5 T29 7
1963 George Bayer −4 T28 9
1964 Labron Harris Jr. −4 43 9
1965 Art Wall Jr. −7 T45 11
1966 Terry Dill −5 T17 9
1967 Arnold Palmer −4 4 -3
1968 Bob Rosburg −5 T30 2
1969 Bob Lunn −4 CUT N/A
1970 Harold Henning −6 CUT N/A
1971 Dave Stockton −4 T9 -2
1972 Steve Melnyk −4 T12 4
1973 Gay Brewer −7 T10 3
1974 Sam Snead (2) −5 T20 -2
1975 Isao Aoki −4 CUT N/A
1976 Jay Haas −6 CUT N/A
1977 Tom Weiskopf −4 T14 -2
1978 Lou Graham −5 CUT N/A
1979 Joe Inman −5 T23 2
1980 Johnny Miller −5 T38 4
1981 Isao Aoki (2) −5 T45 12
1982 Tom Watson −4 T5 -1
1983 Hale Irwin −5 T6 -2
1984 Tommy Aaron −5 CUT N/A
1985 Hubert Green −5 CUT N/A
1986 Gary Koch −4 T16 -2
1987 Ben Crenshaw −5 T4 -2
1988 Tsuneyuki Nakajima −3 T33 9
1989 Bob Gilder −5 37 9
1990 Raymond Floyd −4 2 -10
1991 Rocco Mediate −3 T22 -4
1992 Davis Love III −5 T25 -4
1993 Chip Beck −6 2 -7
1994 Vijay Singh −5 T27 6
1995 Hal Sutton −4 CUT N/A
1996 Jay Haas (2) −5 T36 7
1997 Sandy Lyle −5 T34 7
1998 Sandy Lyle (2) −3 CUT N/A
1999 Joe Durant −5 CUT N/A
2000 Chris Perry −4 T14 1
2001 David Toms −5 T31 E
2002 Nick Price −5 T20 1
2003 David Toms −6 T8 E
2003 Pádraig Harrington −6 CUT N/A
2004 Pádraig Harrington (2) −4 T13 E
2005 Jerry Pate −5 DNP N/A
2006 Ben Crane −4 CUT N/A
2007 Mark O'Meara −5 CUT N/A
2008 Rory Sabbatini −5 CUT N/A
2009 Tim Clark −5 T13 -6
2010 Louis Oosthuizen −6 CUT N/A
2011 Luke Donald −5 T4 -10
2012 Pádraig Harrington −5 T8 -4
2012 Jonathan Byrd −5 T27 2
2013 Ted Potter −4 CUT N/A
2014 Ryan Moore −6 CUT N/A
2015 Kevin Streelman −5 T12 -6
2016 Jimmy Walker −8 T29 7

 

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