There is Sunday pressure on the PGA Tour trying to win a tournament, which is immense, and then there’s the pressure of playing for your livelihood.
Jim Knous, making his final start on his medical exemption, needed to earn at least 3.516 FedEx Cup points at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship to secure conditional Tour status as well as full Korn Ferry Tour status for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. That amounted to finishing T-61 or better and when he started with four bogeys in his first eight holes, it looked as if he may need to start looking in the help wanted ads on Monday. But Knous righted the ship with four birdies against a single bogey coming home to shoot 1-over 72, finish T-57, and keep his job for the rest of the season.
“Greatest top-60 (finish) of all time,” he cracked.
Knous injured his right wrist at the 2019 RBC Canadian Open and it required surgery that August, sidelining him for the rest of the year and all of 2020. He held the 54-hole lead at the Fortinet Championship in September, but a final-round 74 dropped him to T-11 and left him with one event to get the job done – or else be jobless.
“It’s just been weighing on me,” he said. “The emotions were going crazy today. I was running through all the scenarios in my head, which is exactly what you don’t want to do, but it’s hard to block those out. Once that first tee ball was in the air, it was game time, everything kind of pushed to the back in my mind, so I was just able to focus on golf.”
That Knous even had a chance on Sunday was remarkable. Playing in the worst of the weather on Thursday, he opened with seven bogeys on his first eight holes and shot 76. He needed to go low to make the cut on Friday and did just that – making eagle at 17 en route to shooting 66 and making the cut on the number. But 71 players survived the 36-hole cut so he still had his work cut out for himself over the weekend. On Saturday, he posted 2-under 69 to give himself some wiggle room, but not much.
All the emotions. Fought my way into the weekend. Now let’s keep it going! https://t.co/qqy3tb38Rj
— Jim Knous (@JimmyHardK) October 29, 2021
And then the weather turned nasty on Sunday and Knous got off to a brutal start. Having played the back nine first, Knous rallied with birdies at Nos. 2, 4 and 7 before a bogey at 8 made his chances a bit dicey again with one hole to go.
“I knew making birdie would be great and would vault me up the leaderboard a little bit. I saw T-61 on the tee when I teed off, so I said, ‘I don’t know about that.’ I said, ‘Let’s make a par and I’m going to try to make this birdie putt just like any other putt, I’m going to try to make it.’ Luckily, rolled it in,” he said. “I was so ecstatic to see it go in. And relief, too. A lot of relief.”
Which was more difficult – making the cut on Friday or the comeback on Sunday?
“Maybe tied. They were both brutally hard,” Knous said. “Your mind kind of goes all the wrong places, but I just told myself, ‘We’re going to do this.’ I just kept fighting and just proud to have done it, you know.”
Here’s to a job well done and a job for another season.