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Masters 2024: A super unscientific ranking of the 15 most powerful people at Augusta National

April 11, 2024

Ben Walton

AUGUSTA, Ga. — If you can make it to Augusta National, you can make it just about anywhere. With the Masters being arguably the toughest ticket in sports, reaching patron status means you're either very lucky, very wealthy, very well-connected or a combo of all three. Pat yourself on the back because you're doing something right.

But we'd be lying if we said everyone at the Masters is equal—at least, in terms of influence. And when you're here, that becomes very apparent. To that end, we've come up with a ranking of the most powerful people at Augusta National. These are people who get you to poke the person you're with and say, "Who's that? Looks familiar!" And you hope you're standing next to someone like Golf Digest's Christopher Powers, who somehow identified University of Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz in the crowd on Wednesday. (Drinkwitz's friend confirmed Chris was the only person to recognize him all day.)

How did we come up with this list? Well, it's completely subjective. And these are mostly categories with a couple of exceptions. Again, not the most scientific, but here we go:

15. Patrons wearing fancy logos


Ben Walton

We're talking Pine Valley, Seminole, Winged Foot, Oakmont. If you're wearing one of those, odds are you've played there or are even a member. This is a big week to rep your home club.

14. Patrons wearing fancy dress shoes

Nothing screams "I'm rich and powerful" like walking around a golf tournament in dress shoes, especially after it's rained. "Oh, you're wearing your old sneakers? Well, these are my old Ferragamos."

13. Media you see on TV

You'll see a lot of these people during Masters week, from Golf Channel guys like Brandel Chamblee, to ESPN's Scott Van Pelt and NBC's Mike Tirico (Check out our recent podcast with him!). They are a lot more powerful and cool than us ink-stained wretches in the press building—a very literal cliché today when our Sam Weinman had a pen explode in the pocket of his pants.

12. Golf agents

You'll see a lot of these people as well—especially if you hang out near the big oak tree by the clubhouse. That's where they are wheeling and dealing. Or, at least pretending to in order to stay in the shade.

11. Other golf power brokers


Finlay MacKay

We're talking people like PGA of America president Seth Waugh (above) and USGA president Fred Perpall. These guys have the title of president AND you might see them walking around in dress shoes. Big time.

10. Golfers in the tournament


J.D. Cuban

Of course, this is a wide-ranging group, but this week above all others, these guys are put on a pedestal. It's a very golf knowledgable crowd. Those in attendance appreciate these heroes with their names on their bags.

9. Golfers with green jackets

Of course, there's even more reverence shown to these living legends of golf. But perhaps not as much as to the person who oversees Sunday's green jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin …

8. Jim Nantz


JD Cuban

The voice of the Masters is the unofficial mayor of these parts. When he's under the big oak, people constantly flock to him. And the man famous for saying, "Hello, friends," truly treats everyone like a best friend.

7. Celebrity athletes

Nantz would rank above most of these guys, but a couple stick out. This year we've already had Dwyane Wade, Josh Allen and Wayne Gretzky sightings. And who can forget Michael Phelps having a front-row seat to one of the most famous moments in Masters history?

6. Golf commissioners


David Cannon

It's really tricky comparing PGA Tour commish Jay Monahan or LIV leader Greg Norman to an NFL QB, but again, no one ever said this list was perfect. What we do know is these guys are wielding a bunch of power. Although, apparently Norman had to buy his own tickets on the secondary market after reportedly being denied by the club.

5. Hollywood stars

Again, we are comparing apples and oranges here. Or, in this case, orange-hued studs like Jon Hamm, who showed up a few years back. So far there have been no such Hollywood sightings—unless you count Chris Powers somehow identifying Dane DeHaan(?!) from HBO's "The Staircase"—but it's early.

4. Pop stars

I won't name names, but Harry Styles had some media members swooning at Augusta National on Thursday.

3. Tiger Woods


Ben Jared

OK, so this guy had some media members—and plenty of patrons—swooning as well on Thursday. It's hard to explain just how differently this guy is watched here. Whether it's the crowds by the first tee or practice area, or the path created by people just waiting for him to emerge from the clubhouse, he's the GOAT.

2. Supreme Court Justices

Brett Kavanaugh was in attendance on Thursday and when someone asked him who he thought was going to win he said, "The jury's still out." Just kidding, I made that part up. But that would have been a good one.

1. Augusta National members


J.D. Cuban

But not even a Supreme Court Justice has jurisdiction in these parts. If you're here, that's because Augusta National—and the ubiquitous green-jacket-wearing members—have allowed you to be a guest this week (Or you got around that by paying big bucks like Greg Norman). Keep in mind these members span a lot of these categories—from celebrity athletes like Peyton Manning, to billionaires like Warren Buffett, to even former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Even some of the famous people we've listed above address members as "Sir" or "M'am." And chairman Fred Ridley (above) is the big boss in charge. Heck, Joe Biden could show up this weekend and not have as much power here. Impressive stuff, Fred … um, we mean, Chairman Ridley.