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Luke Donald

Ryder Cup carrot dangled in front of Knox

Russell Knox was the center of attention after winning the HSBC Champions, and not just with the sponsors.

After his press conference, he posed with four flight attendants from Emirates Airlines. Next up was a photo with the owner and executive staff of Casillero del Diablo, which supplied the wine for the week.

When he sat back down to sign flags and caps for HSBC, another man approached whom Knox did not recognize.

"Hello, Russell. I'm Keith Waters with the European Tour."

Waters is the chief operating officer, and he was equipped with all the answers Knox did not know and was too overwhelmed to ask at the moment — mainly, the process of...