Knox Declares He’ll Always Be An Outside When It Comes To Making European Ryder Cup Team

It’s the week of the Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open and naturally Scotland’s top-ranked Russell Knox is thinking about capturing his ‘home’ Open for a first time in his career.

But then the very affable Scot is also concentrating on another event that will not be contested until later next year.

Twice in his career, Knox has missed out on European Team Ryder Cup selection firsly in 2016 when was clearly one of the best ‘qualifying period’ performers before being pipped at the last hour by Belgium’s Thomas Pieters in capturing the Made in Denmark.

A year ago, Knox was runner-up in the French Open and then a week later he brilliantly captured the Irish Open but it was not enough to win the favour of European Team captain, Thomas Bjorn.

Russell Knox declaring he will always be an outsider when it comes to the Ryder Cup. (Photo @tourmiss)

And as Knox sat in the Renaissance Club press room earlier today Knox spoke of his desire to make it a third time lucky and qualify automatically for Padraig Harrington’s 2020 European side.

“I‘m thinking about Ryder Cup already.  It’s totally changed for me.  I’ve had enough of not making that team.  When my caddie and I, David Clark, when we sat down January 1, his No. 1 goal and my No. 1 goal is to make the Ryder Cup team,” said Knox.

“Since then, I think about it every day. 

“I’m going to do everything I can not to miss that team when it comes around.  Everything that I kind of do, that’s the end goal, I guess you could say.  There’s going to be plenty of baby steps along the way to make that team but it just comes down to it’s as simple as if I play good, I’ll be right there and if I don’t, I’ve got no chance. 

Knox was asked had he changed.

The mind‑set of being, okay, well, if I see myself as being in the Top‑12 players in Europe, I mean, I have to put myself there.  Obviously I’ve been very close the last two times.  It’s more of a mental thing that I can see myself being there, and then I’ve got to go do it, as simple as that.”

And there is no doubting the Florida-based Scot’s determination even though qualifying for Harrington’s team does not commence to September later this year.

I mean, maybe as the time comes next season, that’s something which I’ll definitely look at, if I am close.  Obviously playing great in the US will go a long way, too,” he said

But it comes down to, I mean, I’ve got to play my way into the Top‑50 in the world again.  I have to be in the major championships, the big WGC events.  Got to play good at venues like Wentworth and the PLAYERS Championship and these Rolex Series Events.  The big ones, they are the ones that count. 

“If I ‑‑ whoever makes those teams plays well, they win tournaments, they contend all the time, and that’s something that I need to push on and get back to. 

I don’t have to do anything.  Just because, I mean, I feel like I owe it to myself.  I feel like I ‑‑ I mean, I don’t deserve ‑‑ that’s the wrong way to put it. 

But because I’ve been close and because I’ve had some nice years now playing; if my career ended without a Ryder Cup, I would regret it.  I guess regret is not the right term because I’m trying my hardest every time.  I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t able to do it.  I know the player that I can be.  I know I can improve from where I am now. 

“It’s something which is going to mean a lot to me.  Just watching it on TV, not being there, I mean, you want to be there.  It looks really cool.  I’d love to see how I would handle the pressure of it.  Of course, there’s other fish to fry, too.  Every tournament we play is massive.  Being able to play well and try and win tournaments is a huge goal, also.”

A final question on Knox and the Ryder Cup was if he felt an ‘outsider’ in 2016 by not being picked or qualifying automatically for Darren Clarke’s side.

I’m always going to be an outsider.  I’m a U.S.  Nothing is ever going to change.  I don’t honestly see ever getting picked.  I am a U.S. citizen.  My dad is.  My whole family live over there.  At the same time, I feel like I am obviously Scottish.  I grew up here.  I was born here.  Lived here until I was 18.  I know I’m going to have to earn my way on the team, I know that, as is everyone else,” he said

I don’t expect to be picked, maybe because of that.  I would say in the last year or so, I’ve become a little friendlier with a few people on the team, which obviously is helpful.  But at the same time, if you play good, you’re going to be on the team even if you’re best friends with everyone or you’re not.  That is something I would look forward to is being around a few of the guys a little bit more, developing friendships, so when the time comes, it’s more of an obvious shift hopefully.”

Well stated, Russell and good luck this week here at The Renaissance Club.



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