Notebook: Marker right on the mark playing with McIlroy
by John Bednarowski
April 13, 2014 04:00 AM | 1475 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A regular in amateur and mid-amateur tournaments in Georgia, Jeff Knox had a more prestigious round of golf Saturday. The Augusta National member, right, played alongside — and beat — Rory McIlroy at the Masters.
<BR>Associated Press photo
A regular in amateur and mid-amateur tournaments in Georgia, Jeff Knox had a more prestigious round of golf Saturday. The Augusta National member, right, played alongside — and beat — Rory McIlroy at the Masters.
Associated Press photo
AUGUSTA — There are five amateur events in which the winner earns an invitation to the Masters.

Maybe the competition committee should add the Augusta National club championship to the list. Especially if it produces players like Jeff Knox.

Knox, a 51-year-old club member, played as a marker with Rory McIlroy on Saturday and outshot the two-time major champion with a 70 to McIlroy’s 71.

A marker is used when the field has an uneven number of players. In this case, Knox helped maintain a consistent pace of play.

“Jeff is a great player,” McIlroy said. “He beat me by one. I thought he was going to be nice and three-putt the last one and we could have had a halve, but he beat me by one.

“He obviously knows this place so well and gets it around. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does around here. He was really impressive. I was thinking of getting him to read a few of my putts out there.”

Shooting 70 is nothing to Knox. He owns the club record from the member tees with a 61, and he’s also no stranger to playing in the Masters. Knox has played as a marker with the likes of Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Craig Stadler and Bubba Watson in previous Masters.

Knox is a two-time Georgia Mid-Amateur champion, but he has yet to claim the state amateur title.

Last summer, he finished in a tie for third at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw. Knox shot rounds of 70-73-73-73 to finish two shots behind Kennesaw State golfer Jimmy Beck.

HISTORY SLIPS AWAY: Gary Woodland shot 30 on the front nine Saturday and then birdied No. 10 to move to 7-under par for the day.

For a while, it looked as if he would challenge the course record of 63 — set by Nick Price in 1986 and equaled by Greg Norman a decade later — or perhaps become the first player in history to shoot 62 in a major.

That idea came to a screeching halt.

Woodland bogeyed No. 11, hit the ball into Rae’s Creek on No. 12 and shot 39 on the inward half for a 69.

If Woodland had gone on to equal or break the course record, it would have been the second such run for his caddie, Tony Navarro. Navarro carried the bag for Norman when he shot 63.

HARDWARE DAY: While the green jacket is the cherished prize at Augusta National, everyone from the winner to players who missed the cut have an opportunity to leave with a suitcase full of awards and prizes.

Obviously, the winner adds a jacket to the wardrobe, but he also has his name engraved on the main Masters Tournament Trophy, which is kept in the main clubhouse. He also gets a replica of the trophy and a gold medal.

The runner-up also has his name engraved on the main trophy, and he will receive a silver salver and silver medal.

A silver cup will be presented to Oliver Goss as low amateur. Goss, a Tennessee golfer and the lone amateur to make cut, is also part of the green jacket ceremony.

For everyone else there is crystal.

An engraved vase is awarded to the player who has the low score of the day, an engraved bowl is awarded to each player who has a hole-in-one, a pair of crystal goblets are awarded for each eagle and a large bowl is awarded for each double-eagle.

Ryan Moore already has the first prize presented this year. He won the annual par-3 tournament Wednesday.

Moore shot rounds of 77-72 and missed the Masters cut, continuing the trend that no player has won the par-3 tournament and gone on to win a green jacket in the same year.

SEE YOU IN ATLANTA: Seven players in the Masters field are scheduled to make the 2½-hour drive into metro Atlanta to play in the Champions Tour’s Greater Gwinnett Classic at Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth.

Six former Masters champions — Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize and Mark O’Meara — will join Miguel Angel Jimenez among the players at Sugarloaf.

Also set to compete are Cobb County native Larry Nelson and former Wheeler High School standout Bob Tway.

The Greater Gwinnett gets underway Friday.
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