Tom Watson on Wednesday struck a blow for the old-timers and Jack Nicklaus’ 15-year-old grandson and caddie capped a rollicking, fun-filled Masters Tournament Par-3 Contest with an ace.
Watson, 68, playing with fellow greats Nicklaus and Gary Player, needed only eight putts to post a six-under 21 and edge out Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Belgian Thomas Pieters to become the oldest winner of the tournament’s traditional curtain-raiser.
G.T. Nicklaus Jr, one of 22 grandchildren of the fabled “Golden Bear,” was given a swing from the last tee after lugging the six-time champion’s bag, firing his first-ever ace to set off a wild celebration punctuated by a laughing bear hug from his grandfather.
In winning the family-friendly competition — in which kids, parents, wives and girlfriends often participate — Watson shrugged off the so-called “Par-3 Curse,” whereby no winner has gone on to win the Masters, because he will not be competing in the tournament.
Two-time Masters champion Watson overtook Sam Snead as the oldest winner of the Par-3 competition. Snead, who in 1960 won the inaugural contest on the picturesque layout adjacent to the championship course, also won for a second time 14 years later when he was one month shy of his 62nd birthday.
Nicklaus, 78, also thrilled the packed galleries by carding four-under-par, while 82-year-old Player was two-under in an exhilarating showing by the former lions of the game.
“Watch out for the old guys,” said Watson, who predicted the trend might continue at Augusta National. “You’ve got Mickelson  and you’ve got Tiger . Watch out. They could make some noise.”
After a record nine aces were posted in the 2016 competition won by Jimmy Walker, only two holes-in-one were officially recorded on Wednesday.
One was registered by Tony Finau, who almost fell victim to the curse in an unconventional way.
Finau began running toward the seventh green after his tee shot disappeared into the hole and swung around to jog backward while motioning for his family to join him before he twisted his left foot and crumpled to the ground.
Fortunately, Finau recovered and finished the nine-hole round, escaping the curse for the time being.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017