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Russell Knox ‘terrified’ by putter change at Genesis Scottish Open – but it works

Russell Knox wielding his new putter at The Renaissance.
Russell Knox wielding his new putter at The Renaissance.

When you’re 198th out of 204 on the putting stats on the PGA Tour, then desperate measures are needed, even if you’re playing in an event that means most to you in golf.

It still needed Russell Knox’s wife Andrea to force him to do something about the nagging weakness in his game.

‘Please, try something different’

“She said ‘you’ve played professional golf for so long, 15 years, and you’re horrible at putting. Please, try something different’,” he said.

So Knox had a broomhandle putter, which he’d adapted to his own specifications, in the bag for the first time at the Genesis Scottish Open. And admitted he was “terrified”.

“I kept thinking to myself, ‘are you really going to do this at a Scottish Open?’” he continued. He had not even hit a single ball with a long putter until three days before he left for Scotland from his home in Florida.

“You know, I could get away with it at an event in the US, and this means way more. I could mess up knowing my tee to green game has been so solid.”

Well, despite fearing how “weird” he looked, the man from Inverness produced a fine two-under 68.

“It’s been awful for years,” he said of his putting. “Travelers, my last event, I was minus 6 strokes gained putting and that was enough. Tee to green I was good enough to be high up, and instead I’m going home.

“I’ve thrown in some good putting weeks now and then, but I play this game for a living, and you need to be more consistent than a good week every couple of months.”

Knox started with a 47 inch shaft and gradually whittled it down – “in a few weeks, it might be normal length again”, he quipped.

‘I was absolutely terrified on the first hole’

Scottish Open: ‘If you’re gone, you’re gone’ – Stephen Gallacher and Russell Knox lambast returning LIV Golf rebels

However at 40 inches with a grip of his own making, “amazingly, the ball started going where I was looking.”

“I don’t shy away from trying something, and you know I’ll always keep trying until it’s game over,” he said. “But I was 95% sure I was going to chicken out. I even said to Andrea when I left that I’d probably be back before my tee-time.

“I was absolutely terrified on the first hole. The first three-footer for par was maybe the best putt of my life. If that didn’t go in we were in for a long day!”

“I give myself a B plus today,” he added. “It was good, I missed a few of course but made a few. But my long putting, which I was terribly worried about, was terrific.”

Knox has never missed his home Open, and with warm sunshine baking The Renaissance yesterday morning, it was as idyllic as it could be.

“Playing links golf in the sun and now the warmth as well, that’s about as enjoyable as it gets,” he said.

“The course is 100% getting better. There’s definitely four or five very strong holes to take care of. Sure, there’s some birdie holes as well but it’s good.

“I understand there’s plans for more tweaks. It’s more testing.”

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