Russell Knox suffers controversial penalty incident early on final day at Pebble Beach

Russell Knox put a brave face on as he reflected on a controversial rules incident which hampered his challenge for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am title.

Knox was just two shots behind overnight leader Jordan Spieth when he began his final round with a perfect tee shot down the middle of the first fairway, but his problems began as he began his pre-shot routine for his approach.

The Scot was settling over the 160-yard shot when he noticed his ball move a fraction, and it moved again as he called for a rule official to assess the situation, unsure if he had caused the ball to move.

Knox explained himself to the official, who cleared him of any wrongdoing at the time only for a further investigation to determine that Knox would be subject to a one-shot penalty, a decision he was informed of as he left the fifth tee.

Whilst the 35-year-old took the blow with good grace, he admitted the news came at a very bad time as he had just suffered a horrible lip-out with his par putt on the fourth green before pulling his tee shot to the short fifth into a greenside bunker.

Asked to explain the events of the first hole, Knox gave a firm indication of his mood when he said: “Yeah, I wanted to tee my ball up in the fairway to gain an advantage but sadly I got caught, which sucked!

“But, no, I just was getting comfortable a little. I guess I put the club down, moved up, a little waggle, came down and the ball just creeped a little bit, and then obviously I was deemed to have addressed it. And even after I kind of walked away, the ball still moved a little further, like 30 seconds later, which was weird.

“It’s just one of those horrible rules which every one of us is against. There’s no advantage gained in any way, and it happened to Maverick McNealy yesterday, my playing partner, so it’s just, it’s one of those kind of horrible rules that got me on the first hole.

“At first, the ruling was that I didn’t cause it to move, because it was such a grey area there, and ultimately we got it right and I did address the ball, so I should have been penalised. Obviously it’s a rule which I wish they would eliminate.”

Knox, who had birdied the second and third to get within a shot of the lead, admitted being told of his penalty on the fifth tee was a “triple whammy”, although he responded with a birdie at the sixth and also birdied 17 and 18 to fire a 70 and finish tied for seventh on 13 under par.

“Sadly it was like the worst timing ever, probably, because I birdied two and birdied three and i was flying,” he added. “And then I hit it close on four and had a full horseshoe from three feet, and then I hit it in the worst spot ever on the fifth and got told walking up there.

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“So really I kind of went from three under to even par in about 30 seconds, so that was tough. It’s just one of those things that got me on edge all day, to be honest, starting that way.

“It was like a triple whammy on No 5, but it’s one of those things. I mean, you have just got to take it on the chin. I battled away after that and I’m proud of my finish.”

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