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Inverness golfer Russell Knox calls for rule change after Pebble Beach frustration

Russell Knox finished tied seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Russell Knox finished tied seventh at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Inverness golfer Russell Knox has called for a ruling change after his hopes of winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am were dented by a controversial penalty.

The 35-year-old was firmly in contention on the final day of the PGA Tour event and went into the final 18 holes only two strokes adrift of leader Jordan Spieth.

But, on his approach to the first hole, Knox noticed his ball appeared to move as he went through his pre-shot routine.

The rules official initially determined there was no penalty but by the time Knox had reached the fifth hole PGA Tour officials had scrutinised the footage and deemed a one-shot penalty appropriate under Rule 9.4(b).

Knox eventually finished tied seventh and five strokes behind winner Daniel Berger but admitted the early penalty halted his momentum.

He said: “I hit a nice tee ball there and had an 8-iron.

“I was just getting a little comfortable. I guess I put the club down, moved up, a little waggle, came down and the ball just creeped a little bit, and then obviously I was deemed to have addressed it.

“And even after I kind of walked away, the ball still moved a little further, like 30 seconds later, which was weird.

“It’s just one of those horrible rules which every one of us is against.

“There’s no advantage gained in any way, and it happened to Maverick (McNealy) on Saturday, who was my playing partner, so it’s just, it’s one of those kind of horrible rules that got me on the first hole.”

Russell Knox chips the ball onto the sixth green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links during the third round.

His tied seventh placing was Knox’s best finish since winning the 2018 Irish Open and the Scot is feeling optimistic about the season ahead after his impressive display at Pebble Beach.

‘I’m super happy with the way I played’

He said: “Sunday was a strange day. I kind of knew it would be.

“I haven’t been probably in this position in a big event like this in a while.

“It was difficult with Patrick Cantlay and Daniel Berger. The pace was very slow. I never got in a rhythm.

“I struggled with that a little bit.

“On Saturday I played unbelievable. In the final round I was okay, but I knew that it was going to be a tough day and, with the conditions and being a Sunday.

“But I battled away and was delighted to finish birdie, birdie. Obviously that’s going to help out a lot.

“I’m super happy the way I played.

“I hit the ball unbelievable.

“Maybe at times today I was a little sketchy, but it’s Sunday, it’s tough, but the first three days is the best I’ve hit the ball in many years, so that’s comforting.

“The putter was fine too so it’s only positives this week.

“Obviously kind of a few weird things happened on Sunday so obviously it wasn’t my day.

“But my game is in good shape and I look forward to the future.”

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