FILE - In this Friday, May 15, 2015 file photo, Russell Knox watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.. Knox has been given a place in the British
Chuck Burton, file
July 08, 2015

GULLANE, Scotland (AP) Russell Knox was playing the 12th hole in the pro-am at the Scottish Open when he checked his phone and saw he'd received a text from his wife.

It was the message Knox had been waiting for: He'll be playing in the British Open for the first time.

The 30-year-old Scot was given a place in the field for golf's oldest major tournament after top-ranked Rory McIlroy withdrew Wednesday because of a left ankle injury sustained while playing soccer with friends at the weekend.

''It's a horrible way to get in, I guess, but I'm very happy I'm in the field,'' Knox said.

''What Scot doesn't want to play an Open, let alone an Open at St. Andrews? It'll be a true thrill.''

Knox, who was born in Inverness in northern Scotland but is based in Florida and plays on the PGA Tour, has never played at the Old Course as a professional. He played one round there as an amateur, and went to watch one British Open at St. Andrews purely as a fan.

He said getting the call is a weight off his shoulders, sparing him an agonizing wait over the next week.

''Everyone is gutted for Rory. He is in the prime of his career and would have had a great chance to win there,'' Knox said of the defending champion.

''I was thinking about it (the British Open). You always think, `First reserve, yeah you'll probably get in,' but sometimes you don't ... It's nice to know now, so I can plan.''

Knox's best memory of the Open at St. Andrews is Tiger Woods romping to a five-shot victory in 2005.

''It's a special place,'' Knox said, with a smile, ''it's the home of golf.''

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