Knoll Looking To Bounce Back After Rough Year

By Marty HenwoodApril 10, 2001, 4:00 pm
He may be going through the 2001 Canadian Tour season with limited vision, but talking to Arden Knoll, you realize that the 38-year-old Saskatchewan resident has never seen things more clearly.
 
Overcoming obstacles is hardly confined to professional golfers, granted, but Knoll, a mainstay on the Canadian Tour since qualifying at the 2000 Fall Q-school, is now forced to keep things in perspective. As one of the top golfers in Canada through most of the decade, Knoll has built himself quite a resume. Two years ago, he won the inaugural Niagara Classic, had three top-ten finishes and wore the Canadian flag as a member of the World Cup team. Back in 1996, Knoll had his banner year on the links, winning the Payless Open, finishing second on the Order of Merit while being named the Canadian Tours Most Improved Player, capturing the SCORE Award as Canadas top male touring professional and winding up in a tie for 57th at the Bell Canadian Open.
 
As many highs as hes experienced in the past ten years, Knoll is now adjusting to the scenery from the other side of the fence.
 
I look at life a lot differently now, I find things dont bother me as easily, admits Knoll, who now resides in Kelowna, B.C. with wife Sandy and children Brett and Taylor. I have things to overcome, and Im going to do my best to do it.
 
On a lazy summer afternoon last August, Knoll, taking part in the McDonalds PEI Challenge Pro-Am at Mill River Golf Club, suffered an allergic reaction after being stung in the neck by a hornet as he made his way to the clubhouse after the event. The venom found its way into his right eye, causing microscopic tears and scarring on the retina and leaving Knoll with just 40% vision in the eye.
 
I didnt play well at all last year, so that (the injury) just compounded the disappointment, he adds. I have a lot of trouble with my depth perception right now...Im not sure if what I see is what Im actually seeing. Theres always going to be a lot of questions, and it is very tough to play this game when you question what it is you are doing. Im going to have to learn to score with what I have.
 
Adding to what a was a season to forget in 2000, Knoll travelled overseas to Asia to play early in the year, only to fall sick and lose substantial weight which he was unable to gain back over the course of the Canadian events. Then came the August setback. Still, Knoll refuses to give up the game, choosing instead to use the adversity as motivation. His paydays may not be what they once were and Knoll has turned to running golf academies and teaching at his affiliate course, Harvest Golf Club in Kelowna, to help make ends meet.
 
But while it may seem as though he is backed up against the ropes, it would be foolish to count Arden Knoll out.
 
Im not one to give up...I wont pack it in until I cant play anymore. Of course, what happened was an unfortunate circumstance, but I see it as a challenge. A challenge I have ever intention of overcoming.
Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

<
Getty Images

DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

Getty Images

Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Getty Images

Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.