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Russell Knox has called for the Rules of Golf to be changed after his hopes of winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am were undone by a SNAFU early in the final round.

Knox, 35, was sizing up his approach to the first hole when he called in an official for a ruling on a possible infraction.

The two-time PGA Tour winner – out in the penultimate group and lying just two shots off the lead at the time – explained that he saw his ball move slightly after going through his pre-shot routine.

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Knox grounded his club behind the ball, took it away and waggled it. As he started to return the club to its original position behind the ball, he noticed it move fractionally. 

In the exchange with the official, Knox explained: “I was over it. My initial club definitely hit the ground. Then I was up and I waggled again and looked down and the ball had moved a little bit.”

Because Knox’s ball had moved whilst the club had been in the air for a period of time, the rules official determined that there was no penalty and Knox proceeded to par the hole. Birdies at the second and third got him to within a shot of the lead. 

Whilst all that was happening, tour officials were giving the incident further scrutiny.

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After Knox hit his tee shot on the fifth, he was informed that the situation had been re-assessed and that it had been decided that he had likely caused the ball to move. As such, he was given a one-shot penalty in accordance with Rule 9.4(b).

After signing for a two-under-par 70 to finish in a tie for seventh – five shots behind eventual winner Daniel Berger – Knox accepted that the eventual penalty was correct but added that he thinks the rule should be changed.

“At first, the ruling was that I didn’t cause it to move, because it was such a grey area there, and ultimately we got it right and I did address the ball,” he said. “I should have been penalised. 

“Obviously it’s a rule which I wish they would eliminate because it happened to Maverick McNealy yesterday, no advantage, and me, obviously, no advantage today and we get penalised for it.

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“So it’s just one of those things that it just kind of got me on edge all day, to be honest, starting that way. On No.5, I got told they looked at it and I had to add a shot and right after a full horseshoe and a downhill dead bunker shot. So it was like a triple whammy on No.5.

“I kind of went from 3-under to even in about 30 seconds, so it was tough.

“But it’s one of those things. You’ve got to take it on the chin. I battled away after that and I’m proud of my finish.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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