Russell Knox call 'so tough' - Clarke

2016 08 Getty Images 587139890 1
• Darren Clarke explains reasons for leaving out Russell Knox
• Said only uncertainty was between Pieters & Knox for final spot
• "I haven't slept an awful lot about it," said the Ryder Cup captain


Darren Clarke said the moment he phoned Russell Knox to tell him he wouldn’t be in the European Ryder Cup team was ‘one of the toughest calls I’ve had to make’.

Knox was left out of the 12-man team in favour of Thomas Pieters, who joined experienced men Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer in completing the team after winning the Made in Denmark at the weekend.
"I haven't slept an awful lot about it" - Darren Clarke

The 31-year-old Scot would have qualified for the team automatically had he been a European Tour member when he won the WGC-HSBC Champions in November. As a result, he told Golf Digest last week that Clarke had ‘a moral obligation’ to pick him.

Clarke, however, had other ideas – but did admit that it was between the rookie duo for the final spot.

Read more -> 'Ridiculous' if no Russell Knox, says Spieth


Europe Ryder Cup Press Conference

“It came down to the choices between Russell Knox and Thomas Pieters,” explained Darren Clarke. “That has been an incredibly difficult decision. I haven't slept an awful lot about it.

“Having to phone Russell yesterday and give him the information is probably one of the toughest phone calls I've ever had to make, because Russell has played unbelievably well over the qualification period with winning WGC and then doing what he did in Travelers.

“Some people would say he deserved a position on the team. But I took a look at it and put them side-by-side, and I've always been a huge Thomas Pieters fan from when I first witnessed how he hits the golf ball and how he plays.

Read more -> The putter behind Thomas Pieters' fantastic form


Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - Day Two

“And the manner which he's played golf these past few tournaments: Fourth in the Olympics, to go to Czech and get beaten with a birdie on last green; and then last week to do what he did, to birdie the last three holes to win the tournament in the fashion that he did, just impressed me that much that I found it impossible to leave him off the team.

“But certainly it was one of the most difficult periods I've ever had to deal with in my golfing career.”

With an American father, Russell Knox is eligible for the USA and captain Davis Love III was quizzed about whether he would select the Scot in his team if he could.
"If he could play for us I would pick him, certainly" - Davis Love III

“If he could play for us I would pick him, certainly,” Love said. “But if I was Darren, I’d be looking hard at him, yeah. He’s their highest-ranked player not on their team.”

The first journalist to speak to Russell Knox in the aftermath of Clarke's decision was AP's Doug Ferguson, with the Scot telling him that 'barely speaking to' some of his prospective Ryder Cup team-mates didn't work in his favour.


Russell Knox decision :: Should he have been in?

Do you think Russell Knox should’ve been named as one of Darren Clarke’s wildcard picks? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

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