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August 23, 2016

Russell Knox

Farmingdale, New York

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Russell Knox from Scotland into the interview room at The Barclays, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs.

Russell, you're No. 4 in the rankings right now. Pretty good position after a couple of wins this year, and a couple of runner-ups. Just your thoughts coming into the Playoffs?

RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, I mean, I'm looking forward to it very much. Obviously it's been the best year of my career so far. I mean, I'm very fortunate to be No. 4 heading into The Barclays. Yeah, I mean, anything from here would be a cherry on top of the cake, so I'm looking forward to giving it my all, and fortunately, I don't feel pressure on me, so I can just free-wheel it.

MARK WILLIAMS: I understand you haven't played at Bethpage Black, it's your first trip here to the venue even. Did you manage to catch some of the events that were here in the past on television.

RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, I watched them all on TV but I have a terrible memory, so that's not going to help me out very much. I look forward to going out there this afternoon and starting to figure it out.

Q. Have you had any contact with Darren Clarke recently?
RUSSELL KNOX: No contact with Darren Clarke. They are probably keeping quiet. Yeah, hopefully I'll hear from him a week today, that's the goal.

Q. Can you elaborate on how important that is for you, just to be on that team?
RUSSELL KNOX: I mean, it's important but it's not the end of the world. If he chooses not to pick me, I'm not going to sulk in the corner. He has every right not to pick me. He has every right to pick me.

So that's the thing, the great thing with captain's picks, is that he can choose whoever he wants and I'll be okay with it. I feel like I've done everything I could do. I played my best. I made the commitment to join The European Tour so I was eligible. I played well. So I guess I've made my case and hopefully it's good enough.

Q. When you've watched previous competitions over the years, have you envisioned yourself playing in them?
RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, I've watched them all. Obviously it's great TV. It's great to watch it. But I mean, until I won in China, I never really expected to make the team. But then after I won there, I was like, wait a minute, I obviously picked the perfect tournament to win, being it was a European Tour event and a PGA TOUR event. That helped my case.

Since then, it got me really excited to try to make the team and inspired me to play my best golf of my career.

Q. Have you had conversations with Darren over time or have you not spoken to him recently?
RUSSELL KNOX: We had dinner with him at THE PLAYERS Championship, myself and other potential rookies that could make the team and Rory McIlroy was there, also, to kind of give us a pep talk.

No, it really inspired me to work harder and make the team. Hopefully I've done enough, and would love to be there.

Q. Is there any worry on your part -- I don't know about the number, you would know better, four or five rookies are already locks. Are you concerned that maybe Darren picking another rookie as a captain's pick might be detriment to you?
RUSSELL KNOX: If I do get picked, I won't -- the way I'm going to look at it is, I won't feel like I'm a pick in a weird kind of way. Because if my points would have counted at WGC, I would have made the team comfortably. So if I'm lucky enough to get picked, I'll feel like ten people qualified and he picked two people, that's the way I'm going to look at it to take pressure off myself. But yeah, that's not my decision.

Q. Just curious if you have any recollection of this course, just watching it on TV and the past majors that were here, 2012, do you have any recollection of seeing anything about it or is it new for you coming in?
RUSSELL KNOX: No, it's completely new. I remember watching the year Lucas Glover won, it was extremely wet. That's all I remember. There's a lot of long holes and it's very hard.

No, I've tried to look online at some pictures of the course and whatnot, and it looks tremendous. So I look forward to it.

Q. Does it have a reputation? 2002 in the U.S. Open, it was brand new for the pros. Does it have a bit of a reputation among pros?
RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, I think there's a reason why massive tournaments, majors, The Barclays keep coming back to a venue like this; shows how good it is. I'm 100 percent sure it's going to be an amazing test and it's going to be a tremendous course.

Q. It's been awhile since we've had a major event here like this, four years ago. Golf, PGA TOUR, certainly has changed a lot since then. Just in terms of the parity, especially this year, how interesting is it to be on TOUR with that parity that follows everywhere?
RUSSELL KNOX: Yeah, this is the best job in the world. I mean, golf is extremely healthy right now. There's a lot of massive stars. We all hope that Tiger Woods can come back. I would love to compete with him. I've never played with him, so I would love to get to play with him before it's all said and done.

Golf is in an incredible place right now, a lot of huge names. I can't believe I'm a part of it. Very happy.

Q. And in terms of the Playoffs, the intensity that kind of ratchets up a little bit, do you guys feel that? I know you're sitting in a pretty good position, but do you feel that?
RUSSELL KNOX: Oh, it's great. Arguably the most important tournament of the year is this one, because if you can get here, now the points are times four I think. So if you're 125 on the list and you can have a great tournament this week, you can go all the way to East Lake.

So this is potentially the most important tournament of the year for a lot of people. I mean, fortunately, I'm already locked up to go all the way, but it just makes it even more exciting for me, if I was to play well in one of these next couple of events, the chance of winning the thing increases, at least give me a chance. So I look forward to it very much.

Q. You talked earlier about this being the best year of your career. What's changed to let you take the next step?
RUSSELL KNOX: I don't think anything's changed. I think that's probably why I've improved is I've just allowed myself to naturally get better. I think a lot of times out here, people try and force to improve too quickly, and maybe try a new coach, a new this, new that, and they are always searching for something different, and a lot of times, I think that makes people worse.

So I think I've been very fortunate that I've just allowed myself to naturally improve, and I think that's one of the main reasons why I've had a great year. I just haven't tried to change anything.

I don't have a swing coach. I swing however I want. I think that helps me trust my swing when I really need to.

MARK WILLIAMS: Can you just compare, lastly, just the first victory you had at the HSBC Champions and the recent one at travelers two weeks ago, and are they gratifying in different ways.

RUSSELL KNOX: Absolutely. The first win in China, I mean, I was terrified. I had no idea I was able to win such a massive tournament. I kept trying to convince myself I was good enough to win. And then I mean, when I had a two- or three-shot lead there in the last couple holes, and it was like, man, I'm going to win this tournament. It was a huge kind of shock.

Since then, I mean, when I was two ahead with three to go at the Travelers, so I knew if I was to par in, I was going to win, because Jerry Kelly was in. I kind of at that point expected myself to go on and win and do it fairly easy, and it was definitely not easy. Winning is the hardest thing, ever.

I was very relieved obviously when I managed to get it done, because I was in a similar position in México, Mayakoba this year, I had to potentially par the last hole. I was playing with Jason Bohn who could have birdied and I ended up making bogey and lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell. That was going through my mind on 18 when I needed to make a par.

So it was readily nice to get that putt to go in, and that's where the emotion came out. I felt like that was a huge moment in my career, knowing that when you just have to make a par to win, it's pretty difficult.

MARK WILLIAMS: We appreciate you coming in, and good luck for the rest of the Playoffs.

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