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Meet Jeff Knox, the lucky non-competing marker who gets to play the Masters

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He's played at Augusta with Tiger, Rory and Bubba, and golf cult hero Jeff Knox is back at the Masters again this year.

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

A little golf nerd tradition at the Masters is rooting for an odd number of players to make the cut on Friday afternoon. Why? Because it means Jeff Knox will get the call to play on the weekend.

As we head into the weekend of the 2019 Masters, Knox will once again have his name called for Saturday and Sunday's rounds at Augusta National. He'll tee it up with Eddie Pepperell in the first game of the day on Saturday at Augusta National.

The Masters is different from all the other majors in many ways, and one of them is that they don't let the guy in last play by himself on the weekend. They bring in Knox, called a non-competing marker, to play with that solo to try and maintain a reasonable pace for the first tee time. The actual competing player doesn't have an option to decline the marker.

In 2016, Knox made a triumphant return to the Masters Saturday morning to play with Bubba Watson, who almost certainly would prefer to play by himself and zip around Augusta in less than three hours. Last year, he got weekend rounds with Jason Day and Ernie Els. Knox, of course, is not some weekend chop plucked from outside the ropes. He's a member at Augusta, holds the course record (a 61 from the member tees in 2002), and regularly beats these pros when he gets to play with them.

His rise to golf nerd prominence came largely from a 2014 pairing with Rory McIlroy. Knox beat Rory and took some money off the current world No. 1. Rory came away from the day raving about Knox and his course knowledge, and reportedly picked his brain in the intervening months since.

While that McIlroy pairing became one of Knox's most famous rounds, he's actually been taking the pros money for several years. A Guardian profile back in 2013 highlighted some of his conquests, including:

  • Making a wager with Sergio Garcia in 2006, beating Sergio, and then Sergio refusing to shake his hand
  • Back-to-back drubbings of former Masters champ Craig Stadler on the weekend on 2003
  • Poking it past Miguel Angel Jimenez off a couple different tees, after the Spaniard told him not to outdrive him
  • Giving then-defending champ Bubba Watson tips on how to play Amen Corner at the 2013 Masters
  • Bombing in a birdie putt like a pro and then strutting incredibly across the 13th green in 2016

Knox also played with Tiger Woods during a practice round when the four-time Masters champ was deciding whether he had the game to tee it up and chip a golf ball in 2015. The best in the world have regularly started inviting him to practice games when they visit Augusta during the weeks and months ahead of the season's first major championship.

So this man is living the dream and become a cult idol for many hackers. Saturday is a big day, and we're all waiting to get the details of his Saturday loop with Pepperell.

And Twitter, as it does every year, will react with glee when Knox shows up on the live streams that Augusta will have rolling all weekend.

We do know he arrives at Augusta in style like it's no big deal.

Play well today, Jeff.