▶ The crazy thing about golf is, you never know when it’s your turn. I got into the WGC-HSBC Champions in November as a last-minute alternate. My wife, Andrea, scrambled just to get our visas into China, and I played only one practice round. But I just went for it, and somehow I won. Now I can stand on the first tee and think, Hey, I just beat the best players in the world over four days. That’s a huge confidence boost for me.

▶ It did shock me that I won that tournament. But it wasn’t a shock that I won a tournament. I knew I could win out here.

▶ When I won, one of the first things I thought about was, I’m going to the Masters.

▶ I played Augusta for the first time this winter. It was as good as I ever hoped. The tournament is going to be epic. As you walk around, the course tells this great story with its history.

▶ When I first got on the PGA Tour, in 2012, I wanted to be loved. But then I quickly realized, nobody cares to be your friend. But if you take care of your own business, you’ll make friends.

▶ I grew up playing in Inverness, Scotland—the North. You can play there all year round if you’re an animal. I’m not an animal.

▶ In fact, if you don’t want to play golf in the rain, you’ll never play golf in Scotland.

▶ When I first came to the United States, I was just blown away by how different everything was. The food, the people, the roads. I’m very happy living in Florida, but I miss almost everything about Scotland—except for the weather.

▶ I miss the food, too. Some people wouldn’t agree, but I do. Especially the steak-and-ale pie.

▶ I met my wife—I call her Tia—when I was on the golf staff at a club in Jacksonville. She was a tennis pro. We hit it off right away, and I told her it was going to be a crazy ride. But she got lucky. I’m on tour now. [Laughs.]

▶ My late grandfather gave me his kilt 10 years ago, and I was proud to wear it for my wedding. They’re not cheap. The whole outfit costs about $1,000.

▶ It’s true, you’re not supposed to have underwear on if you’re wearing a kilt—just saying.

▶ On the flight home from winning the HSBC, a bunch of other players and caddies were on the plane. Rickie Fowler gave me a 100-dollar bill from China, a yuan. He wrote “Winner Winner!!” and signed it. I kept it, but don’t get excited. One hundred yuan is like $15.

▶ As a junior member of my course in Scotland, I paid $100 to play there—for the year! For most Scots, it’s just a great place to hang out. A social hub. Have dinner. Relax. There’s no country-club vibe. That’s what it should be everywhere.

—Interviewed by Ron Kaspriske


RUSSELL KNOX
AGE: 30
LIVES: Ponte Vedra Beach
FROM: Inverness, Scotland
NOTED: Ranked No. 32 in the world. Win at HSBC came against a strong field, including Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Played college golf at Jacksonville University. Winner on the Web.com Tour. He also has two playoff losses on the PGA Tour. Leads the tour in greens in regulation (77.6 percent).


WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS