Michael McDermott is the most dominant GAP player of this century
09 Apr 2024
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com

see also: The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Michael McDermott Profile

Michael McDermott (USGA photo)
Michael McDermott (USGA photo)

Michael McDermott has played Augusta National many times since joining the world-famous club seven years ago. However, a spin around the hallowed grounds on a Friday in April will probably stand out from all of them.

After spending two years as the designated marker for The Masters, McDermott, a highly-touted baseball prospect in high school, finally received the call from the bullpen when Kevin Na withdrew during his first round last year. Thus, McDermott joined Mike Weir for the remainder of his round to give him some company and also help Weir stay at a normal pace at Augusta National.

McDermott is a 49-year-old Pennsylvania native who has won numerous amateur events, including the famed Crump Cup at Pine Valley twice. He runs a financial planning firm, Kathmere Capital Management, in Bryn Mawr; when he's not working he has quite a selection of golf courses to play: Merion, Philadelphia Cricket, and Pine Valley all count McDermott in their membership.

Not a bad set of options for the +2.6 handicap.

While he's known nationally as the marker for The Masters, McDermott has made quite an impact in the Pennsylvania golf scene.

"He's the most dominant amateur in the first 15 years of this century here," Marty Emeno, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) Director of Operations.

Emeno describes McDermott as a tough competitor and great grinder. To punctuate his point, he told a story about the 2016 GAP Amateur Championship match against Jeff Osberg.

McDermott was 2 down after 14 holes, and McDermott, at his home course, Marion GC, stormed back and won three holes in a row to win the title.

"He's also the voice of Philly golf," Emeno said.

McDermott was one of eight people Emeno tapped to speak for a video commemorating the 125th Anniversary of GAP.

Additionally, Chip Lutz, a legend in Pennsylvania golf, asked McDermott to introduce Lutz at his Hall of Fame induction in 2022.

Golf runs in the McDermott family. Michael's father, Neal McDermott, was the GAP president from 2002-2005 and was a very solid senior golfer and played to a scratch handicap in his heyday. Kevin McDermott is a .3 handicap, and Brian McDermott is a 1 handicap.

Augusta National doesn't take the marker role lightly, and McDermott's stellar resume is why he replaced the beloved Jeff Knox in 2022. McDermott won the Golf Association of Pennsylvania Player of the Year five times from 2000-2008. He won the Pennsylvania Mid-Am in 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2013. In 2003 and 2007 he won The Silver Cross, which is an aggregate of the 36-hole GAP stroke play and the 36-hole Joseph H. Patterson tournament.

After winning the 2017 Crump Cup, McDermott didn't play much competitive golf. He did finish T7 in the Pennsylvania Amateur in 2021 with rounds of 71-73-72 at Marion. Otherwise, it's been a time for McDermott to work and spend time with his family.

Michael McDermott wins the 2017 Crump Cup

That's what makes his role as marker that much more special. It's an opportunity to be in the arena; obviously, it's a little different, as McDermott didn't have to finish out holes and was seen scooping some putts. He wasn't there to finish 18 holes; he was there to help Mike Weir.

While McDermott's shots weren't on TV or logged into the massive Masters database, where any golf fan can watch any shot from the event, McDermott made quite an impression. He carded four birdies in his ten holes. Taking care of business on Nos. 9, 10, 13, and 15.

“Mike was great. He’s got a nice game. A very powerful game,” Weir said following the round.

McDermott was an excellent athlete growing up in Haverford, Pa. He played baseball and basketball in addition to golf.

Golf, it seems, won his heart, and McDermott attended St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, where his play earned him a spot in the school's Hall of Fame.

Jeff Knox held the position of marker for many years, and given McDermott's length off the tee and overall skill level, it's likely he'll have the job for a decade or so before another deserving player steps into the roll.

"We watch the Masters a little differently now, Emeno said, "We're always rooting for odd numbers in the office."

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