CHARLOTTE, N.C. - 75 golfers made the cut at the PGA Championship. Since 75 is an odd number, that means one player would go out and play by themselves.
In an effort to avoid that, the PGA of America provided a marker, or a non-competing golfer to go out and play all 18 holes with the last-place golfer. In this case, the last-place golfer was PGA Tour veteran Charles Howell III.
The marker today was Savio Nazareth, a 38-year old PGA Club Professional from Kernersville, North Carolina.
“I mean I was literally running the vacuum in the golf shop, getting ready to shut it down for the day,”
That’s when Nazareth got a call he never could have foreseen.
“‘Savio. We have an odd number. We need you to play tomorrow as a marker, if you want to play.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’”
Less than 12 hours later, his alarm clock went off at 4 a.m. He was on the road by 5 a.m., just enough time to make his 8:05 tee time for the final round of the PGA Championship.
“It was unbelievable to come down here and play in a major championship on a Sunday,” Nazareth said. “It’s pretty special. It’s obviously still my dream to come down here and play in a major, play on Sunday.”
It’s not unrealistic. Without any preparation, Nazareth went out and shot 76, three strokes better than Phil Mickelson played in round one.
“I joked around with my caddy last night. He said, ‘man those greens are fast.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna practice in my bathtub and see if I can stop it at the drain.’”
Playing as a marker, there’s no record of Nazareth’s score or evidence of his tee time other than a few pictures and probably some confused fans.
“I saw people opening the little pamphlets up and trying to look and see who I was. They could see the name on my bag, but nothing else. I was kind of flying incognito kind of you know?”