Who are all the people at Augusta National watching the Masters?

Fans at 2020 Masters

The 2020 Masters doesn't have its usual set of spectators — but the grounds aren't empty, either.

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — As Dustin Johnson stood over his birdie putt at No. 16 on Saturday afternoon, a murmur ran through the crowd: A golf ball had just come skipping off the back bank at No. 15 and into the water. Splash.

Wait — a murmur ran through the crowd? What crowd?

There are no fans at this year’s Masters. At least, no patrons. Not in the typical Masters way. Certainly not in the way there were at last year’s Tiger Woods coronation, when spectators ringed the closing holes three and five and 15 deep.

But there are still plenty of people on property. They’re masked (besides the players) and they’re Covid-tested (each had to show a negative test to get in) and they’re there. A crowd of at least a couple hundred followed the final groups on Saturday evening, and similar crowds followed the tournament’s most intriguing figures during early-round action: Tiger and Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy and more.

Don’t get me wrong — the wide-open expanses of Augusta National look far different than usual, and most of the field is playing in peace and relative anonymity (except, of course, for the fact that they were all on camera the entire time). But who are the spectators? Who are the folks interrupting the ocean of green in the backgrounds of your television screen? Let’s run through ’em:

1. Reporters

Let’s start with what we know. The media center is decidedly emptier this year — just one person every three workstations — but there are still a number of writers and reporters on site, contributing to a variety of fine publications…most importantly the one you’re reading right now!

Example: Dylan Dethier (that’s me!). Photo evidence:

2. Photographers

These pretty Augusta National snaps aren’t taking themselves! Plus, there’s something kind of cool about seeing those big lenses in the background. This is a big-time event, after all.

Example: Stephen Denton, who’s taking pictures for us this week. Here’s a cool shot he took of Brooks Koepka:

Brooks Koepka on Saturday at the 2020 Masters.

Stephen Denton

3. The Green Jackets

No, not the minor league baseball team. We’re referring here to the green-jacketed members, who are performing various roles this week that range from 1st-tee starter to press conference host to looking vaguely important while supervising activities around the clubhouse.

Example: Fred Ridley, the ultimate green jacket and Augusta National chairman, who introduced Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as honorary starters on Thursday.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley greeted Gary Player on Thursday.

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4. Other Augusta National members

It’s my understanding that in normal years, every on-site member wears his or her green jacket at the Masters. This year, a far higher proportion of the people on site are members — they’ve been allowed to attend all week — and so they’re dressed as civilians. Still wearing lots of green, though.

Example: Peyton Manning. The retired quarterback has been laying low (and giving off serious Golf Dad vibes) all week, enjoying the action, green jacket-free.

Peyton Manning, Masters attendee.

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5. Guests of members

Each member is allotted one guest, so many members have been attending with their significant others. The effect here is a particularly clubby feel; nearly everyone on site who isn’t working is either a member or married to one.

jeff knox
Mysterious Augusta National marker Jeff Knox is doing it again
By: Dylan Dethier

6. Volunteers

There are a few specific roles performed by volunteers at the Masters: monitoring fairway crosswalks, spotting golf balls and changing the analog scoreboards sprinkled across the course. Usually the need for crowd control demands far more volunteers, but this week these jobs are pretty chill.

Example: The scoreboard operators who tried to help Bryson DeChambeau find what turned out to be an unlucky lost golf ball just off the fairway at No. 3 on Friday.

The volunteers are the ones in the background in green-and-white striped shirts.

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7. Concessions staff

Normally Augusta National has notably cheap concession stands open to all spectators. This year, we’re even more spoiled on site: The concessions are slightly more limited, but they’re all free! And they’re staffed by some incredibly friendly individuals.

pimento cheese sandwich masters
Michelin star chef: *This* is how you make a pimento cheese sandwich
By: Josh Sens

8. Coaches

Augusta National is typically a tricky place for coaches to do their jobs, because they’re not allowed inside the ropes during practice rounds. But this year is decidedly different, which means we’re getting a much clearer look at who’s on site with players.

Example: Chris Como. Bryson DeChambeau’s coach has been by his side on the range for much of the week.

Bryson DeChambeau on the Augusta National range with coach Chris Como behind him.

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9. Player guests

In addition to their coach, players can bring in one guest, which usually means a wife or girlfriend. These guests have a much better view of the action this year, with far fewer crowds to navigate.

Example: Paulina Gretzky. Dustin Johnson’s fiancee took in the action Saturday, walking with Jon Rahm’s wife Kelley Cahill as Johnson extended his lead from two to three to four shots.

Dustin Johnson’s fiancee Paulina Gretzky at the 2020 Masters.

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10. Golfers

One of my favorite random things about the weekend at the Masters is seeing which players miss the cut but stick around to use the driving range on Saturday and Sunday anyway. Last year, Mike Weir missed the cut but hit some extra balls to get ready for his next start at a Korn Ferry event he was playing the following week.

A few other players stuck around Saturday afternoon despite missing the cut. Jason Day and his wife Ellie strolled into the pro shop in the late afternoon despite his second-round 78 — some early holiday shopping, perhaps.

There are the former champions, too, who typically stick around for the green jacket ceremony. But they’re not the only ones: Last year it seemed like half the players in the field stuck around to take in Woods’ winning moment. If Dustin Johnson finishes things off on Sunday, chances are he’ll have some well-wishers waiting to greet him, too.

They won’t have to fight the crowds to do so.

Dylan Dethier
Golf.com Photographer

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.