To Jeff Knox, odd numbers are a beautiful thing.
Knox, 51, is a resident of Augusta, a member at Augusta National (notice the members hat he's wearing below) and holds the course record (61, from the members tees). He has played in two U.S. Amateurs and seven U.S. Mid-Amateurs along with twice being the Georgia state Mid-Amateur champion.
In 2002, then-Chairman Hootie Johnson asked Knox if he would play with the last-placed player to make the cut after 36- and 54-holes so he can keep their score. It also -- the theory goes -- helps them maintain a solid pace of play and keeps the pros from having to play alone. Knox, of course, accepted.
Rory McIlroy was the last player to make the cut this year, so that's who Knox is playing with Saturday. But McIlroy is just the latest on Knox's ever-growing list of world class golfers; since 2002, Knox has played with Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and then reigning U.S. Amateur champ Kelly Kraft, among others.
First guy at the range this morning? Rory's marker (& Augusta member), Jeff Knox. He's been the Masters marker since 2002 and RIPS the ball.
— Ashley Mayo (@AshleyKMayo) April 12, 2014 [#image: /photos/55ad7880add713143b428dff]|||140412-knox-rory-518.jpg||| Update (2 p.m.): Alright, there shouldn't be anymore wondering why Jeff Knox has this gig. Playing alongside Rory McIlroy on Saturday with Tiger-like crowds following him, Knox shot 70 and beat Rory by a shot. Maybe he'll get an actual invite next year. . .
Rory McIlroy played with Augusta member Jeff Knox, whose unofficial score is 2-under 70. Rory shot a 71. #masters2014
— Ashley Mayo (@AshleyKMayo) April 12, 2014
"And with my final captain's pick, I choose …. Jeff Knox to represent the United States." -Tom Watson, maybe
— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) April 12, 2014
Love how, while Rory's taking a drop from a hazard on 13, group marker quickly steps up and knocks his second shot on the green. #Masters