Jason Day can keep his head held high. The former world No.1 was out this morning playing with a marker… and managed to beat him.
Not just any marker, either. Day was playing with local Augusta National legend Jeff Knox. The American can turn up at Augusta National whenever he wants – he’s a member. Local folklore says he never missed from inside eight feet.
The reason ANGC use a marker, which is not common on tour, certainly not in majors, is because the club does not like a weekend competitor to play alone.
Knox famously beat Rory McIlroy by a shot on the Saturday in 2014. Rory reportedly was so impressed he asked for a practice round, but it never happened.
Knox’s local knowledge is held in high regard by Masters competitors, and Day knew it.
“I just didn’t want Jeff to beat me, right? said Day, after shooting a three-under 69 and admitting that he knew Knox once got the better of McIlroy.
Jason Day out first w/ a 3-under 69. His primary motivation, “Don’t let [ANGC member Jeff Knox] my marker beat me.” #themasters— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) April 8, 2017
Day said Knox told him he was nervous on the first tee, and said the feeling was likewise.
“In my head I’m like, I’m kind of nervous because I don’t want to let my marker beat me. It was kind of neck and neck.
“I bogeyed the second hole and he parred it and he was, kind of had a little one‑up lead there for a bit, so I’m glad I ended up carrying out the back side.”
Knox’s primary role at the Masters is to keep up the pace of play and let his competitor have a normal rhythm for their round.
If he wants, though, he can pick up if he feels it’s required.
Day clearly wasn’t aware of the unwritten etiquette.
“Well, he started picking up early on and I’m like, okay, I didn’t know what the thing was and I’m just like, you can do whatever you need to.”