The traditional Par 3 Contest has been knocked out by COVID-19 regulations over the 2020 and 2021 Masters Tournament.
On Wednesday, Mother Nature took her turn at it.
With thunderstorms approaching the area around noon, Augusta National began closing the course at approximately 11:20 a.m. Play was suspended during Tuesday’s practice round at 10:55 a.m. due “to inclement weather conditions and safety concerns.”
The Par 3 Contest was scheduled to begin at noon and runs through the afternoon, but weather forecasts are predicting rain and some thunderstorms. The contest is an anticipated event, for both patrons and competitors.
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“It’s funny, when you don’t have children, the Par-3 seems like a bit of an afterthought, and then once kids arrive, it sort of becomes the highlight of the week in a way,” said Rory McIlroy, who is seeking his first Masters win. “So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun to get out there tomorrow and watch her run around.”
4:35 p.m. | State of emergency declared, Tornado watch in effect
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Georgia and South Carolina, including the Augusta-area until 11 p.m.
Also, Governor Brian P. Kemp issued a state of emergency in response to the damage caused by the severe storm system and tornadoes of April 5. Unless renewed by the Governor, the state of emergency will expire on Friday, April 15 at 11:59 PM.
4:05 p.m. | Gates closed for the day
Play will not resume Wednesday, Augusta National Golf Club said in a statement:
“Due to inclement weather conditions and safety concerns, Augusta National Golf Club was forced to suspend play and, subsequently, evacuate the grounds at 3:42 p.m. ET for Wednesday’s (April 6) Practice Round. The current forecast will not permit the reopening of the ground. Gates are now closed for the remainder of the day.”
3:51 p.m. | Severe weather warning issued
A severe weather warning has been issued for the Augusta area through at least 4:30 p.m. Wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour and hail could accompany storms that are expected to develop and strengthen rapidly.
3:45 p.m. | Weather strikes again
The dreaded weather horn sounded again Wednesday, this time at 3:42 p.m. to once again suspend play as storms approached Augusta National Golf Club. Many players were still on course during the Par 3 Contest. Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes are tied atop the leaderboard at 4-under.
3:30 p.m. | Hole in one!
Jason Kokrak hit the first hole in one of the day. Watch the video below:
3 p.m. | What’s that? The sun
The sun made an appearance Wednesday afternoon just before 3 p.m. as golfers made their way around the Masters Par 3 Contest. Patrons staked their customary spots around Augusta National Golf Club, though some claimed this morning rain wouldn’t deter them from seeing Tiger Woods. The five-time champion was seen on the putting green shortly before weather halted play Wednesday morning.
1 p.m. | Golfers, kids hit the course
Just before 1 p.m., golfers and their kids made their way to the course to begin the Par 3 Contest. The weather delay lasted roughly 80 minutes and stalled the start of the contest by an hour.
12:35 p.m. | Gates will reopen at 12:45 p.m
Caddies and players began returning to the practice facility about five minutes ago, and Augusta National Golf Club has announced that the gates will reopen at 12:45 p.m.
If the Par 3 Contest does take place, former Masters champion Raymond Floyd is scheduled to join Tom Watson and Gary Player in their grouping. Floyd would take the place of Jack Nicklaus, who said he would no longer participate in the event.
12:20 p.m. | The forecast at Augusta could mean thunderstorms
The Weather Channel forecast says thunderstorms will begin in Augusta around noon, with the potential for severe storms.
Rain is expected to continue into Thursday morning before clearing up around 8 a.m. There is just a 2 percent chance of rain Friday, Saturday and Sunday.