Still pur­su­ing Ry­der Cup goal, Knox jug­gles time on PGA, Euro­pean tours

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Wil­liam S. Pax­ton Spe­cial for USA TO­DAY Sports

When the 12-foot par putt rolled in, Rus­sell Knox fired his hat like a boomerang and let out a roar.

The Scots­man had more on his mind than just win­ning last year’s Trav­el­ers Cham­pi­onship when he cel­e­brated on the 18th hole. He had hoped the vic­tory would se­cure him a spot on the Euro­pean Ry­der Cup team, too.

But cap­tain Darren Clarke went in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion with his se­lec­tions — Martin Kaymer, Lee West­wood and Thomas Pi­eters — for last fall’s matches at Hazel­tine Na­tional.

Knox was dis­ap­pointed, but he made sure to re­main a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Tour this year to stay el­i­gi­ble for the 2018 Ry­der Cup.

“I think you should have to be a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Tour, though,” he said. “I don’t think they will ever change that rule. I know some peo­ple would like them to. I think it’s im­por­tant to go to Europe to be a part of the Euro­pean Tour, the culture, to be part of the team. I need to do a bet­ter job of be­ing a part of it.”

That means more sched­ule jug­gling and travel for Knox to get in the min­i­mum five Euro­pean events to re­tain mem­ber­ship there in ad­di­tion to be­ing on the PGA Tour.

“It’s tough,” Knox said. “They’ve made it eas­ier for guys, which is nice. But the travel, I’m go­ing to have to travel quite a bit com­ing up.

“It’s dif­fi­cult, but it’s part of the busi­ness. It’s part of the job and it’s my choice. I don’t have to join the Euro­pean Tour if I don’t want to. But I chose to — that’s the way I look at it.”

Knox would have qual­i­fied for the team if he had been a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Tour when he won the World Golf Cham­pi­onships-HSBC Cham­pi­ons in Novem­ber 2015. But he joined the Tour late and had to rely on be­ing a wild-card pick.

“I can’t com­plain about it be­cause I don’t have to do it,” Knox said. “I want to do it and I have to em­brace it and en­joy it. I look for­ward.”

With more Euro­pean play­ers mov­ing to the USA — Knox lives in Florida af­ter orig­i­nally mov­ing there to at­tend col­lege in Jack­sonville — it has be­come more dif­fi­cult to jug­gle a sched­ule on both tours.

Paul Casey put fam­ily first in de­cid­ing to play only on the PGA Tour, and that has kept him from be­ing el­i­gi­ble for the Euro­pean Ry­der Cup team. Knox doesn’t want to give up his Ry­der Cup dreams, though.

“That’s ob­vi­ously the big rea­son why I do it,” Knox said. “But at the same time, I’d play in the Scot­tish Open any­ways. There are also many great tour­na­ments over there like Rolex Series events, which are fun to be a part of and hope­fully do well in.

“It’s nice to be a world golfer, a world trav­eler, and it’s fun to travel the world to play golf. I’m lucky I can do it.”

To be able to play on both tours, Knox has had to map out his sched­ule ahead of time and skip some events to make things work.

“I look at it from the start of the year, but it’s hard,” he said. “(We) went back and forth a lot about po­ten­tial sched­ules. It’s not easy to fit ev­ery­thing in, and that’s part of it.

“It’s also kind of fun to jug­gle it. It’s hard to pass up tour­na­ments in the U.S. that I re­ally en­joy go­ing to, but that’s the way it has to be some­times.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.