Darren Clarke’s wildcard picks looked pretty straightforward a week ago but Thomas Pieters has chucked an almighty spanner in the works by winning Made in Denmark.
Before last week’s European Tour event, it looked almost certain that Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Inverness’ very own Knox would be his three captain’s picks for next month’s match against the United States at Hazeltine.
The inclusion of Westwood and Kaymer should still be a mere formality.
Five rookies have qualified for Clarke’s team and a couple of experienced campaigners will be necessary if Europe are to give themselves every chance of repeating their Medinah heroics of four years ago.
The final choice looks set to come down to Knox or Pieters.
Knox has made a very strong case for inclusion since opting to join the European Tour on the back of his WGC success last November, which did not count for qualification.
This month’s victory at the Travelers Championship catapulted him into the top 20 in the world rankings and he is sitting seventh in the FedExCup race.
On the PGA Tour, only five players have hit more greens in regulations than Knox this season and he is 14th in driving accuracy – making him an ideal playing partner in the Ryder Cup format.
But Pieters has made an incredible push for the team in recent weeks.
After just missing out on a medal at the Olympics by finishing fourth in Rio, the Belgian came second at the Czech Masters before birdieing the final three holes to win Made in Denmark on Sunday.
When the pressure was on, the 24-year-old delivered.
His opening round of nine under par 62 was shot under the watchful eyes of his playing partner Clarke, who now has a very difficult decision to make.
The European captain will reveal his three picks at Wentworth tomorrow and Knox faces an anxious wait by the telephone to find out if he has made the final 12.
The European Tour would probably prefer to see Pieters, a qualifying school graduate who plays this side of the Atlantic every week on the team as opposed to Knox, who has played five regular European Tour events, the minimum number required for tour membership.
Knox also opted against taking Clarke’s advice to play the Wyndham Championship a fortnight ago and make one final push for automatic qualification, instead choosing to take the week off having felt he had already done enough to secure his place. That decision could count against him when Clarke makes his final call.
It would be fantastic to see a Scotsman in the 12-man European team for Hazeltine and Knox has done more than most to earn his shot of representing his continent.
Hopefully he gets the nod but it is certainly not the foregone conclusion it looked seven days ago.