Russell Knox gets Open place after Rory McIlroy withdrawal

Russell Knox
US-based Knox is back in his homeland for this week's Scottish Open
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

Russell Knox will make his Open debut following the withdrawal of injured defending champion Rory McIlroy.

The 30-year-old Scot was first reserve for St Andrews and learned of his inclusion while playing in the Pro-Am at Gullane ahead of the Scottish Open.

"My wife sent me a text out on the course saying that Rory had withdrawn," said the world number 77.

"Nobody wants to gain because another player is injured, so it is a horrible way to sneak in but I am very happy."

McIlroy will not compete for the Claret Jug at St Andrews after he ruptured ankle ligaments playing football with friends.

After getting the message from his wife, Knox had to wait a little longer for official confirmation.

"My manager received an email from the R&A to say 100% I am into the Open," he said.

"I was down on the 12th hole and had a big smile on my face when I got the text. Bizarrely it was close to where I got a hole-in-one some years back."

Knox, from Inverness, said it was a "great weight off my shoulders" as he prepares for the Scottish Open.

He added: "I am thrilled as it will now be two big, special weeks for me.

"I am very sad for Rory but it's a dream come true for me to be playing my first ever Open at the home of golf."

Jacksonville-based Knox has competed in two majors, finishing tied 45th at the 2013 US Open before missing the cut at last year's US PGA Championship.

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