Kevin Na retired after the first nine holes of his twelfth Masters Tournament, leaving Mike Weir alone to finish his first round of Group 1. The Canadian, Captain-designate for the 2024 Presidents Cup Team International, had a tee time for the second round set for 10:36 am Augusta local time.
But he didn’t leave alone. At the Masters Tournament, players who remain “unpaired”, for one reason or another, are joined by the official Augusta National Marker, a member of the club who is officially in charge of equalizing the number of players in the field.
On the starting tee he is announced by the starter, but then formally returns to anonymity. He has no score, his caddy does not bear his surname on the iconic white suit and is not even indicated in the tee times. But, obviously everyone knows who he is.
His name is Michael McDermott, and it’s his first mission as a Marker.
Michael McDermott, history
He inherited the legacy of Jeff Knox, who held the role from 2002 to 2022 and who often outplayed the pro he was paired with (in 2006 he outplayed Garcia, who didn’t shake his hand at the end of the round, and in 2014 he pulled one shot down on the tour he backed Rory McIlroy).
McDermott is a highly experienced amateur player, who currently plays +1.8 hcp (his lowest was +3.1). He is a two-time winner of the George A. Crump Memorial Tournament (aka The Crump Cup), arguably the premier mid-amateur tournament in the United States.
In 2003 he defeated J.B. Holmes in the final draw of the U.S. Amateur, then won by Nick Flanagan. Now the member of Augusta National has experienced a new emotion which, surely, is not comparable to his previous golf experiences.
The Starter announced: “Fore, please. Now driving, our marker, Michael McDermott”. Michael returned to anonymity, but he entered history. The Masters is one of the four major tournaments, the most important of the season in men’s professional golf.
It is the only major that has been held since the first edition on the same course and is played every year at the Augusta National Golf Club, in Georgia (USA), in one of the most exclusive clubs in the world.