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Russell Knox Ryder Cup question

August 10, 2016

Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III keeps a separate points list for Americans to consider performances that might not show up in the standings, whether that's Rickie Fowler giving up potential starts to play in the Olympics or Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas winning fall events that don't count.

The bigger question is whether Darren Clarke is thinking along the same lines.

That could determine whether Russell Knox is at Hazeltine next month. By winning the Travelers Championship, the 31-year-old from Scotland moved within 6.6 ranking points of the ninth and final automatic qualifying spot for Europe.

Knox played college golf at Jacksonville University and has lived in Florida ever since. He didn't attempt to join the European Tour until after he won a World Golf Championship in Shanghai last year, meaning the 66 ranking points don't count. If they did, Knox would be No. 5 in the standings and virtually be assured of a spot.

''It puts me in a great position,'' Knox said Monday night.

European qualifying ends in three weeks, though Knox The Barclays - the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs and one of the strongest fields of the year - does not count toward the European standings. His last chance to earn points would be the Wyndham Championship next week, but Knox said he doesn't think he's going to play. The Travelers was his 10th tournament in the last 13 weeks, and he still has four FedEx Cup events ahead of him.

That means he might have to rely on a captain's pick.

''I get it that the three picks are there for him to pick whoever he wants,'' Knox said. ''If he feels I can help the team, he'll pick me. If he doesn't feel I can help, he has all the right in the world to pick someone else.''

Considering his two victories, anyone else might seem to be a lock for a pick.

The problem is that Clarke already has five Ryder Cup rookies among the top nine - Masters champion Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Clarke likely would look for experience to round out his team for the Sept. 30 start of the matches at Hazeltine.

Then again, Europe had six rookies when it won the Ryder Cup at Wales.

''I think it would be very difficult for me not to be on the team,'' Knox said.

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