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.