Knox gets into Bri­tish Open af­ter McIl­roy with­draws

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY STEVE DOU­GLAS

Rus­sell Knox was play­ing the 12th hole in the pro-am at the Scot­tish Open when he checked his phone and saw he’d re­ceived a text from his wife.

It was the mes­sage Knox had been wait­ing for: He’ll be play­ing in the Bri­tish Open for the first time. The 30-year-old Scot was given a place in the field for golf ’s old­est ma­jor tour­na­ment af­ter top-ranked Rory McIl­roy with­drew Wed­nes­day be­cause of a left an­kle in­jury sus­tained while play­ing soc­cer with friends at the week­end.

“It’s a hor­ri­ble way to get in, I guess, but I’m very happy I’m in the field,” Knox said.

“What Scot doesn’t want to play an Open, let alone an Open at St. An­drews? It’ll be a true thrill.”

Knox, who was born in In­ver­ness in north­ern Scot­land but is based in Florida and plays on the PGA Tour, has never played at the Old Course as a pro­fes­sional. He played one round there as an am­a­teur, and went to watch one Bri­tish Open at St. An­drews purely as a fan.

He said get­ting the call is a weight off his shoul­ders, spar­ing him an ag­o­niz­ing wait over the next week.

“Ev­ery­one is gut­ted for Rory. He is in the prime of his ca­reer and would have had a great chance to win there,” Knox said.

“I was think­ing about it (the Bri­tish Open). You al­ways think, ’First re­serve, yeah you’ll prob­a­bly get in,’ but some­times you don’t ... It’s nice to know now, so I can plan.”

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