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Russell Knox boosts Ryder Cup prospects

2016 08 Russell Knox
• Scot wraps up second PGA Tour victory of the season
• Travelers Championship win boosts Ryder Cup prospects
• "It's put Darren Clarke in a very difficult position"

RUSSELL KNOX

Russell Knox sealed victory in the Travelers Championship to further his claim for a place in the European Ryder Cup team.


Inverness-born Knox, 31, held his nerve to roll in a tricky 12-foot putt for par on the final hole to complete a one-shot win over American veteran Jerry Kelly. It was the Scot’s second win on the PGA Tour this season, following his WGC-HSBC Champions success last November, and moves him up to 18th on the Official World Golf Rankings.

It also gives him a legitimate claim to one of European captain Darren Clarke’s three wild cards for next month’s match with the USA at Hazeltine.
"It's put Darren in a very difficult position not to pick me" - Russell Knox

The top nine players on the standings – comprising the top four on the European Points List and the top five (not already qualified) from the World Points List) – will qualify automatically for the team, with Clarke then able to fill out his side with three picks of his own after the final qualifying event, the Made in Denmark tournament at the end of this month.

Knox is currently tenth on the World Points List, one spot outside automatic qualification, but as he does not intend to play again before the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin after Ryder Cup qualifying ends, he cannot qualify for the team automatically and is, therefore, reliant on a pick.

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Travelers Championship - Final Round

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer are expected to be get two of Clarke's picks, in order to give the rookie-heavy side some experience. That leaves one pick, with Knox likely to fight it out with US Open runner-up Shane Lowry, as well as the likes of Soren Kjeldsen and Tyrrell Hatton. Knox, though, is confident about his chances.
"If I make the top nine, then I deserve to be on the team" - Russell Knox

“It’s put Darren in a very difficult position not to pick me,” he said after getting his hands on the Travelers trophy. “I mean, it's his decision. He can pick whoever he wants and that's the luxury of it. If I make the top nine, then I deserve to be on the team. If I'm No.10, he can quite happily pass on me, and that's just the way it is.”

clarketweet

Knox, who was sent a congratulatory message from European captain Darren Clarke (above), is also eligible to play for the American side as a result of having dual citizenship. However, he is committed to the European cause.

“I am a US citizen,” he added. “My dad was born in California, so I have dual nationality. I'm not sure if there's ever been someone in my position before. But no, I'm Scottish down to the core, so I'll be on Team Europe hopefully.

“I hope I'm on the team. I would love to be there. It would be a huge honour.”

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bunkered.co.uk opinion


"Ryder Cup captains often talk about having ‘good problems’ in the build-up to Ryder Cup team selection. Russell Knox has just provided Darren Clarke with another one.

The US-based Scot is one of only five players to have won multiple times on the PGA Tour this season. Due to him not playing again before the European qualifying format closes, he’ll need to rely on a captain’s pick for make Clarke’s side for the match at Hazeltine.

As ever, the decision will be likely become clouded by the various options Clarke has to ponder over. At this stage, the standout players requiring picks are Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood. Neither player has won this season but both come armed with bags of Ryder Cup experience. Knox will be fighting it out for a spot alongside Shane Lowry – who has struggled since his US Open disappointment – and Soren Kjeldsen. Tyrrell Hatton may also have a case to throw his hat in the ring, though he would be a surprise choice.

Good problem, indeed. Captain Clarke hasn’t got it easy, that’s for certain." 

• Bryce Ritchie, Editor

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Russell Knox: Would you pick him?


If you were European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, would you pick Russell Knox? Who would you get your three wild cards? Leave your thoughts in our 'Comments' section below.
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