It was possibly the quote of the week. “We are all psychos,” declared Russell Knox, pictured, after finishing his third round at Royal Portrush. To be fair, a full week at an Open Championship leaves all of us sharing that sentiment, but Knox was referring to golfers at the top level.
At different stages in the last 12 months, Shane Lowry and JB Holmes were badly out of sorts yet shared the lead heading into the third circuit on the Antrim coast. Knox has had up and downs himself, hitting the heights when winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in China a few years ago but now sitting outside the world’s top 50.
“We are psychos,” he said again to emphasise his point. “To play this game for a living makes you that way. We’ve all seen our best. Shane’s won, JB has won, I’ve won, so you know where you can be. But is it realistic to think that’s your norm? We always judge ourselves on our best and that’s not fair on any of us. If I average 71 and I shoot 71, that’s my average. If I shoot 68, then I walk home thinking I’m better than my average.”
A birdie-birdie finish for a 68 to sit on four-under and in with a chance of beating his tie for 30th in this event at Troon three years ago. “To be honest, I’ll be disappointed if I don’t beat my Open best this week as I know I’m swinging well,” he admitted. “The course suits my eye, so I’m going to give it my everything. Top 10 in a major is the next big step for me and I’d love to do it this week.”
Bob MacIntyre, the other Scot to make the cut, had former US PGA champion Justin Thomas for company as he carded a 71 for two-under. “It was my putting again, especially short ones. Because of that, I’m a bit down on myself as I am playing well. As soon as I get my putting sorted out, I will get going again,” said the 22-year-old, who is making his major debut this week.