Finding his putter stone-cold in the desert in front of Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke didn’t concern Russell Knox too much. It’s getting into the heat of battles in majors and WGCs that he’s really targeting in a bid to make the Ulsterman’s team for Hazeltine.
After not holing a single putt of note playing with Clarke in the opening three rounds in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship, the 30-year-old Scot finally had some success on the greens as he closed with a three-under-par 69 to finish in joint 35th.
Feeling “tired” after trips to Mexico, South Africa and Hawaii in addition to this one to the Middle East, he has headed home to Jacksonville Beach in Florida to “recharge my batteries” before resuming his 2016 campaign when the PGA Tour rolls into Pebble Beach in a fortnight’s time.
“Playing with Darren in three rounds here was fun as it gave us the chance to get familiarised,” said Knox, who has now made two of the five regular European Tour events needed to fulfil membership criteria and has pencilled in the Irish Open at The K Club, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart on his schedule.
“I need to bring the heat to make his team, which is a good thing. It is not here, Wentworth, the Scottish Open or Irish Open that will determine if I make the team. It’s how I do in the majors and WGCs. I need a big finish in one of them.”
His first chancewill come at Augusta National in early April and Knox knows that he needs to be able to feel more confident on the greens when he makes his Masters debut.
“In my last round here, I missed gazillion chances,” he groaned. “I shot three-under and it could easily have been eight-under. Every day I’ve turned rounds at least two shots worse than they should have been and when you do that over four days you are going to be miles behind.
“I’ve got to figure out how to get the ball in the hole better. I’m used to these type of greens, so there are no excuses.”