Magnolia Lane will have to wait for Colt Knost.
As the reigning U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, Colt Knost had locked up an invitation to the 2008 Masters. Instead he decided to turn pro, reasoning there would be more opportunities to qualify for a spin around Augusta National.
Knost failed to qualify for the PGA Tour and earned conditional status on the Nationwide Tour. In 2008 he expects to receive a few sponsor exemptions for PGA Tour events.
Following is an excerpt from a January 11 interview published at USGA.org:
USGA: First off, any regrets about turning professional?This Monday morning quarterback thinks Knost should have waited. Playing the Masters as an amateur is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And in Colt's words, it would make him “a much better player down the road.” I can’t help but think that competing in the Masters -- even as an amateur -- is worth more than a handful of Nationwide tournaments.
KNOST: No. It’s going to be painful sitting and watching the Masters at home. I said all along I wasn’t going to stay amateur for the U.S. Open. Hopefully I can get hot at Pebble (AT&T Pro-Am) or one of the first tournaments and win and get in [to the Masters]. I’ll be back there one day. I’m happy with my decision. I played those three [PGA Tour] events in the fall and have already gone through Q-School and gained that experience. I have played three [stages] of Q-School and three [PGA Tour] tournaments. I’ve played six tournaments and gave up one and I feel like it will make me a much better player down the road.
USGA: Did you have to wrestle with the decision or was your mind made up after the Walker Cup?
KNOST: After I won the Amateur, I knew what I was going to do. Once I got over to Ireland, me and [Walker Cup teammate] Trip [Kuehne] talked about it a lot. I knew I was going to turn pro. I was just waiting [to get back home].
Unless he pulls off a minor miracle and wins somewhere between now and April, Knost will be tuned to CBS for the Masters like most mortals. Too bad.
The Armchair Golfer