“Never,” barked Russell Knox in reply to being asked if he’d be back in Europe again this year. He was joking, of course, but the 31-year-old could be forgiven for being desperate to get back to his home in Florida to see some sunshine again.
The Scottish No 1, pictured below, said he’d found it a “little nippy” as he closed with a 69 – his best effort of the week – to finish around the top 30 on two-over, joining world No 3 Jordan Spieth on that mark.
“It didn’t rain, that was one good thing,” said Knox, smiling as ever.
His final salvo contained three birdies but was more pleasing for two other factors. “I had two goals today: one was to par the second [he’d dropped four shots there in the previous three rounds] and the other was to hit the 11th fairway and I managed to check both boxes,” he said.
Next up for Knox is the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey starting on Thursday week. A strong performance there could make the difference in his bid to make the European Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine in September.
“I think he [Darren Clarke] gave up on me,” quipped Knox. “I bumped into him on Saturday, but we haven’t spoken about anything since the potential rookies’ meeting at the Players, which I think is great. I don’t need him to give me a pep talk or to tell me anything. It is up to me. I need to crack the whip and play good. If I don’t, then I don’t deserve to make it.”
Paul Lawrie, one of Clarke’s assistants in Minnesota, signed off with a third straight 74 in the company of Masters champion Danny Willett for a 10-over total. He takes on Jean van de Velde today in a charity challenge at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre.