Russell Knox takes action after being told by wife he's 'horrible at putting'
“(She) turned to me and said ‘you’ve played professional golf for so long, 15 years, and you’re horrible at putting. Please, try something different’,” revealed Knox, smiling.
By his own admission, the odd good week apart, including when he became the only Scot to win a World Golf Championship, that part of his game has been “awful for years”.
This season alone, the 37-year-old is 198th (out of 204) in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour, where he was horrified with a minus six return in that category in the recent Travelers Championship.
It was, indeed, time to try something different. “I used a broomhandle putter for the first time in my life,” reported Knox after carding a two-under-par 68 in the first round of the Genesis Scottish Open.
“I started messing around with it just three days before I left for here. I was 95 per cent sure I was going to chicken out. Even when I left this morning, I said to Andrea ‘there is a chance I could be back before my tee time’.”
The weapon in question had a 47-inch shaft when he first tried it, but, admitting that felt “horrendous”, it was initially reduced to 45 inches and is now down to 40 inches.
“I kept thinking to myself, ‘are you really going to do this at a Scottish Open?’” he confessed. “I could get away with it at an event in the US, but this means way more, so I was a little nervous about people looking at me and saying ‘that Knox guy, he’s got a weird putter’.”
It worked well in its first outing. “Best putt of my life was the three-footer for par on the first hole,” he added. “If that didn’t go in we were in for a long day! I was trying to figure out where I’d put my hands if it got horrific.
“I give myself a B plus today. It was good, I missed a few, of course, but made a few. And my long putting, which I was terribly worried about, was terrific. Even lags off the green, it was very good.”
Ewen Ferguson, who opened with a 67, made his Rolex Series debut in this event in 2020. He held a Challenge Tour card at the time but has since stepped up to the DP World Tour, where he won the Qatar Masters earlier this year.
“It gave me so much confidence,” said the Glaswegian of that opportunity. “Actually the Covid year helped me a bit as it got me starts that I may not have got. I finished half decently as well and that gave me a lift for the rest of that year.”
Ferguson was going along nicely in last week’s Phoenix Irish Open before an untimely quadruple-bogey 8 in the second round led to him missing the cut by a shot at Mount Juliet.
“I was quite upset,” he said of that, “but I spoke to my family and my coach and they say it will happen again. It’s part of the game and you have to deal with it. You take it on the chin and at least it gave me a few more days to prepare for this.”
On a day that saw Richie Ramsay withdraw due to illness before teeing off, Connor Syme carded a 70, one less than Marc Warren. A bogey-bogey finish late in the evening left David Law having to settle for a 72, matching Stephen Gallacher’s morning effort, while Bob MacIntyre and Grant Forrest shot 73 and 74 respectively.
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