US Open: Russell Knox unfazed by Erin Hills rough controversy

Russell Knox
Russell Knox says his swing will prove crucial to his US Open chances
US Open, Erin Hills, 15-18 June
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Russell Knox is "feeling good" about his golf ahead of his opening round at the US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin.

Knox, one of three Scots in the field - alongside Martin Laird and Richie Ramsay - is unfazed by controversy over the heavy rough on the course.

The tall, thick fescue has been removed from four holes, sparking criticism from Rory McIlroy among others.

"If you hit it in the fescue here you deserve to be punished. It's not going to be easy. I like it," Knox said.

While Mclroy is unhappy at the heavy rough being removed, other players have criticised the depth and thickness of it on the course.

Knox, who is 39th in the world rankings, is content with his game after finishing tied for 37th at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

"I feel great and I showed some good signs of form last week to finish up in Memphis," the 31-year-old Invernesian said.

The course at Erin Hills is making its US Open and Knox believes it is in great condition.

'It's the US Open - it's not supposed to be easy'

"I've played the back nine so far and I like it," added Knox. "It reminds me of a Scottish links course a little bit. Visually, I like the look off the tees. It's hard, there are a couple of good, hard holes.

"It's definitely not going to be easy - but it's the US Open. It's not supposed to be easy. It's difficult when you play your practice rounds; most of the time you play off of the back tee-box. They'll vary the tees and where the pins are; they should have fun setting up the course."

Charley Hoffman hits his shot out of the rough at the US Open
The rough at Erin Hills has proved a hot topic in the locker room

Regarding complaints about the rough by some of the other 156 players competing this week, Knox said: "There's plenty of room out there. The fairways are probably the biggest they've ever been in the US Open, especially that I've played. There's still loads of rough - if you hit it in the fescue then you've hit a bad shot.

"There are too many courses we play where guys wing it off line and they still have a shot. If you hit it in the fescue here, you deserve to be punished.

"If you're in that stuff, then honestly, you might lose your ball. You might have to hack at or take a penalty drop. It (the rough) should be far out of play - just the wild balls should go in the fescue.

'Am I going to win? I sure hope so'

"The rough is still thick, it's a massive penalty. I think they [the organisers] are doing a good thing trimming it back just a little."

Asked about the potential for a Scottish winner on Sunday, Knox, who will be in the same group as Laird over the first two days, said: "Well, there's three of us playing so that's obviously good.

"It's a tough one: you don't really know how you're going to do here. If I swing it like I have been the last week or so, which there's no reason why I shouldn't, I think I'll have a good week. Am I going to win? I sure hope so. I just look forward to hopefully having my best finish ever in a major."

Russell Knox

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