Open Championship 2015: Russell Knox living 'dream' debut

Russell Knox discussing tactics at St Andrews
Knox says St Andrews is freezing compared to Florida
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.

It has taken Russell Knox until the age of 30 to play as a professional at St Andrews and the Scot is relishing the fact it will host his Open debut.

Born in Inverness, Knox has been based in the United States since taking up a university scholarship in Florida.

"It's my first Open and a great place to start," he told BBC Scotland.

"Playing the Open at St Andrews is a dream come true and seeing all the grandstands and all the people out on a Tuesday is pretty special."

As first reserve, Knox was the beneficiary of defending champion Rory McIlroy's withdrawal after rupturing ankle ligaments playing football with friends.

He followed that up with a top-10 finish at the Scottish Open on Sunday and is feeling upbeat about his chances at the home of golf.

"I would like to play with a smile on my face," said Knox. "That's easier said than done, but I would like to just enjoy the moment.

"You never know if you're going to be back at an Open at St Andrews, so it is very special being a Scotsman.

"I am just going to aim at the pin and you never know what can happen."

Knox has yet to win on the PGA Tour, his best finishes in the USA's top circuit being runner-up twice.

Opportunity Knox
Born in Inverness, attended and played for Jacksonville University before turning professional in 2007
Two victories on the NGA Hooters Tour, one on the Nationwide Tour and then one on the Tour
Brother of Radio Clyde DJ Diane "Knoxy" Knox

However, his weekend finish at Gullane lifted him to 73rd in the world rankings and he hopes to have picked up a few tips after Tuesday's practice round with former winner Bernhard Langer.

"This is my third major - a US Open and a PGA Championship - so I don't have experience really, but I've been playing great," he said.

"I think experience is very under-rated, especially on this course - there's a lot of playing in different conditions, cold, warm, the wind direction and there's so many bunkers you have to avoid.

"But experience doesn't mean anything if you don't play well. Hopefully, if I can keep my form going from Gullane last week, I'll have a good one."

Knox acknowledged that St Andrews' notorious fairways are looking a bit green.

"It has probably rained a lot and it's freezing," he said. "They haven't got the temperatures to bake it out.

"It's still great and it's good links golf, the ball's still running for miles and it's going to be a great test.

"St Andrews as a town and the course obviously just has a special feel and aura about the place. It is so unique.

"It's a joy to be here and I'm just happy to have the chance to compete."