The Masters 2017: Par 3 curtain-raiser falls victim to weather

Niall Horan (left) with Rory McIlroy
Pop star Niall Horan of One Direction caddied for Rory McIlroy at the Par 3 contest in 2015.
Masters 2017 on the BBC
Venue: Augusta NationalDates:6-9 April
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The traditional Par 3 curtain-raiser to the Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, has been cancelled because of severe weather warnings.

A tornado threat in the area forced officials to close the course for the rest of the day on Wednesday.

The event, held each year on the eve of the opening round, often sees family members or celebrities serving as caddies to the professionals.

Bad weather has affected practice sessions at the course all week.

"The safety of everyone on our grounds was the determining factor in our decision to close the course and cancel the Par 3 contest," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said.

"We share in the disappointment of our patrons, but the safety of everyone on our grounds is always our primary concern."

It is the first time in the history of the Masters that the Par 3 event has been cancelled.

"Augusta is now in a 'Particularly Dangerous Situation' tornado watch, which means there is a high probability of tornadoes in the area," said BBC meteorologist Simon King.

Earlier on Wednesday officials closed the course for two and a half hours because of thunderstorms and weather warnings, and when players returned to the course for the Par 3 tournament, just 55 minutes of play was possible before being abandoned.

The weather is expected to affect the opening round of the 81st Masters on Thursday, with 40mph winds forecast during play.

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