Rory McIlroy is fresh off his first win at the British Open, the third major win of his young career, and he is already thinking about how to win next year’s Masters, the one major that eluded him so far.
McIlroy also revealed a secret weapon that will try to help him complete the career grand slam.
His name is Jeff Knox, one of the greatest Augusta National golfers ever, and he has never even officially entered the tournament. McIlroy wants to play some practice rounds with the amateur and pick his brain.
McIlroy has played with Knox before.
Knox is an Augusta National member and holds the course record from the members’ tees, a 61, which is two strokes better than the Masters single-round record (63 by Nick Price and Greg Norman).
Knox also serves as the tournament’s marker, playing with the last place golfer on the weekend if there is an odd number of players who make the cut.
During this year’s Masters tournament, Knox was paired with McIlroy on Saturday, the last player in under the cut-line. Knox actually beat McIlroy, shooting a 2-under 70, one stroke better than the Northern Irishman, and “showed [McIlroy] a few things” according to Bob Harig of ESPN.com.
After winning this year’s British Open, McIlroy was asked about the Masters and brought up Knox.
“What really helped me [this year at the Masters] was playing with Jeff Knox in the third round,” McIlroy told the media. “He’s my amateur marker and he’s the best I’ve ever seen on Augusta’s greens. I might have to take a couple of trips up before it next year and have a couple of practice rounds with him.”
In fact, McIlroy has already sent Knox a letter requesting a couple of practice rounds prior to next year’s tournament according to David Westin of the Augusta Chronicle. Knox has already agreed to help McIlroy, calling it “quite an honour.”
If McIlroy wins, Knox may have discovered a new calling.
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