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Masters debut will be a dream come true: Russell Knox

By Carl Markham

Scotland's Russell Knox has watched the Masters countless times and racked up numerous rounds on a computer game but admits nothing will prepare him for his actual debut.

The 30-year-old knows being at Augusta in the flesh means there are plenty of other things to take into consideration in addition to actually playing the famous 18 holes.

Not least the rules and procedures associated with the most stringent golf club regulations in the world - rules which his father Mike broke on their only pre-tournament practice round.

"The shot which stood out was on the par-three 12 where I hit a nine-iron and my dad was videoing it - which I am not sure is 100 per cent allowed," said Knox.

"I hit it at the pin and it landed three feet short. I won't tell you I missed the putt."

But for all his hours of viewing and playing a virtual course, nothing could prepare him for the first time he stepped onto the course.

"I've been one time a couple of months ago and that was the first time I'd been on the grounds and it was as amazing as you could have hoped," he added.

"I just wanted to soak it all in and get familiar with where everything would be and play the course but I wasn't taking notes.

"I was just trying to enjoy the day. I think my dad was more excited than I was. I think it was better than he expected but exactly what I expected because my expectation levels were so high.

"I feel like I've been there 100 times just by watching on TV and playing computer games and I felt I knew every hole before I'd even played it.

"It is going to be a little different with grandstands and what-not but that is the fun part."

The US-based Scot qualified by winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November as a last-minute alternate. He has had plenty of time to think about his Augusta debut, the only Major missing from his CV, and this is the one he always dreamed of.

"My first memory is 1997 watching Tiger destroy everyone; I was 12 and just getting into golf and getting the passion for it," said Knox, who plans to play a practice round with 1988 champion and fellow Scot Sandy Lyle.

"Growing up every kid seems to pretend they have a 10-foot putt to win the Masters so it will be a dream come true.

"If I play well enough then making the cut should take care of itself - although it is never taken for granted as I've played in four Majors so far and made the cut once.

"I'm not going to say 'I expect to contend and win' (Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 was the last debutant winner). It is possible but I am realistic. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."

Knox is also looking forward to the curtain-raising par-three competition tomorrow.

"That is going to be the highlight of my week - all I want to do is play the par three," he said.

"Neal, the son of my coach (Mike Flemming) who passed away a couple of years ago will caddy for me.

"It was our number one target together so I think it will be emotional. It is a shame he will not be there but great for his wife and son to be there."

Belfast Telegraph


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