Russell Knox, from Inverness, Scotland, is currently ranked 99th in the world, and 42nd in this year’s FedEx Cup standings. Knox has been a pro for seven years, and played on the PGA Tour the last three. He notched his best Tour finish (second) at the 2014 Honda Classic, where he lost to Russell Henley in a playoff.
CBS Local Sports sat down with Knox to discuss his favorite golf course and the secrets to his professional success so far.
CBS Local Sports: Tell us the must-haves that you carry in your golf bag and why?
Knox: The must-haves that I must have in my golf bag: number one is food. I get hungry on the course I like to have beef jerky when I play. Cliff bars. I try not to be a superstitious person but I try to only use the same blue ball marker when I play in tournaments, and I always use white tee’s with a Scottish flag on them. But other than those things, I try to be as least superstitious as possible.
CBS Local Sports: Do you have any hidden talents?
Knox: I would say my number one biggest hidden talent is arcade basketball. For some reason when I was younger, I used to play arcade basketball over and over and I got pretty good at it. At one point, I thought I’d be the best in the world, but then I recently just watched a video of someone in Asia who would have destroyed me.
CBS Local Sports: What is your favorite club to hit and why?
Knox: My favorite club to hit is definitely my driver. I love swinging the driver as hard as I can. It’s definitely one of my biggest strengths and has allowed me to compete on the PGA Tour.
CBS Local Sports: What did you do with your first big winnings check?
Knox: My first big winnings check is probably on the winnings tours. I always said I would buy myself a new car. So I won a tournament in 2011, I purchased a Toyota Highlander and I pretty much, the exact amount I got on the check I purchased with the car. So it was a very proud moment in my life.
CBS Local Sports: If you didn’t play golf, what other sport would you play and why?
Knox: If I didn’t play golf, I would choose football, or soccer as you call it over here. I grew up playing football back home in Scotland and I was probably equally as good as it. I was about 16 and I decided to focus on golf but, I’m a huge soccer fan and I still watch it all the time on television and still wish I was good enough to play.
CBS Local Sports: What is your favorite course to play and what’s your favorite golf hole?
Knox: My favorite course to play: Pebble Beach. It’s the most special place I’ve ever been and I would say my favorite hole is probably the 8th hole at Pebble Beach. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
CBS Local Sports: Do you have any pre-game rituals and why?
Knox: I don’t really have any pre-game rituals when I play. I try and gather plenty of time, I hate to feel rushed, but I don’t really do one thing every time I play. I think the name of the game is to be able to adopt to how you feel, to how your body feels and just kind of let it go.
CBS Local Sports: Being one of the top golfers in the world, what do you credit your amazing career and success to?
Knox: I have to credit my success to my coach, Mike Fleming, who sadly just passed away a couple weeks back, but I owe him everything. He’s been my coach now for seven-eight years, and he taught me how to become a decent college player to being successful in the PGA Tour. I miss him everyday and he’s been a huge part of my success on tour.
CBS Local Sports: When and how did you first start playing golf?
Knox: I started playing golf when I was eight-ten years old back in Scotland. My dad played with his friends on the weekend, and I started to tag along. I started to enjoy it, started to improve and I started to beat my dad and his friends, so I was like, ‘This is a great game.’ So, that’s what got my interest in golf.
CBS Local Sports: What was it like playing in this year’s Honda Classic?
Knox: The Honda Classic was the biggest thrill of my life so far, I mean, to play great all week and get into contention and my chance to win the first PGA Tour event, was a blast. I mean, I wish I would’ve finished first but my coach always told me finishing second is the next best thing in professional golf. I mean, it was a great experience and something I’ll remember for a long time.
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