PGA TOURLeaderboardWatch + ListenNewsFedExCupSchedulePlayersStatsGolfbetSignature EventsComcast Business TOUR TOP 10Aon Better DecisionsDP World Tour Eligibility RankingsHow It WorksPGA TOUR TrainingTicketsShopPGA TOURPGA TOUR ChampionsKorn Ferry TourPGA TOUR AmericasLPGA TOURDP World TourPGA TOUR University

Count Jim Knous’ pro golf career as a win

6 Min Read



In final event before starting job at PING, makes cut at WM Phoenix Open as Monday qualifier

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Modern society craves status, with success often measured in accolades. This can be a lonely mindset in professional golf, where leaving a tournament without a victory – even in a field of 132 or more players – can mean disappointment.

    Jim Knous hasn’t won on the PGA TOUR, and the 12-year touring pro is set to begin a new career with PING on Feb. 26 as a club fitting and education engineer. He has made peace with the fact that some of his childhood dreams, like winning TOUR events and contending at majors, might never come to fruition.

    Knous, though, has found peace with that reality. In what could be potentially his final TOUR start at this week’s WM Phoenix Open, he has ensured that the moment won’t pass him by. Knous, 34, signed up for the Monday qualifier, one last hurrah before entering the real world – at the event to which he road-tripped with friends from the Colorado School of Mines, cramming 12 buddies into a house and sleeping on floors – and advanced in a playoff to earn a tee time at TPC Scottsdale. This event marked his first TOUR start in 2017 (also as a Monday qualifier), and if it’s his last, it’s a beautiful way to go out. Knous made the cut with rounds of 72-66 at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course, earning two more trips around golf’s rowdiest environs.

    Jim Knous holes awkward bunker shot for birdie at WM Phoenix Open

    Knous and his family will savor the moment, as they have savored the journey.

    “It’s been a long 12 years, but it’s flown by fast,” said Knous, whose nickname “Jimmy Hard K” stemmed from the pronunciation of his last name. “I’m so grateful for everything that’s happened. It’s been a hard road, it’s been fun at times, and I’m very blessed. I’m very blessed to have gone through what I’ve gone through.”

    “It’s been 12 years of up and down and successes and hardships … but such a fun adventure,” added Knous’ wife Heidi, holding their daughter Mary, after Knous drained a 23-foot birdie to conclude his second round on a brisk Saturday morning in the Arizona desert. As she spoke, the crowd’s roars echoed from the nearby Colosseum-like par-3 16th hole, where fans waited all night to run for optimal seats once the gates opened just after 7 a.m.

    Jim Knous drains a 23-foot birdie putt at WM Phoenix Open

    Knous was once in the fray on No. 16, and he may well be there in the future. In between, he has lived out his childhood dream of becoming a PGA TOUR player. The Colorado native cut his teeth on mini-tours for four years before earning Korn Ferry Tour status at 2016 Q-School. Two years later, he earned his first TOUR card in dramatic fashion at the Korn Ferry Tour season finale, edging Justin Lower for the final card after Lower missed a 7-foot birdie on the 72nd hole. (Lower and Knous are close friends and often teamed for Tuesday trivia nights on the road; Lower has since become a TOUR veteran.)

    Injuries slowed Knous’ progress on TOUR, and he returned to the Korn Ferry Tour for 2023. After falling short at Q-School’s Second Stage last fall, a moment of reckoning was required. Knous, married with three young children, still had the desire and talent (as evidenced this week), but a return to mini-tours at this stage in life didn’t seem feasible. The number “197,” which represented nights away from home in 2022, weighed on him too. So he updated his LinkedIn, reached out to contacts across the golf world, and ultimately landed a job with PING. He’ll have a cubicle, and the family will soon move to the Phoenix area, near PING HQ. They’ll transition into a more “normal” lifestyle.

    “This last season on the Korn Ferry Tour, I played poorly … I had some back injuries at the end of the season; me and my wife sat down and we had that discussion,” Knous said. “Is it time to give it up? I have three kids, there’s a lot going on in my life, and I wanted to be around. Everyone at PING has been family to me for 12-plus years, they’ve just been awesome … and they’re deciding to take a chance on me, which I’m super grateful for.”

    Jim Knous at home with family

    This weekend, Knous will walk through TPC Scottsdale’s famed tunnel to No. 16 two more times, aiming to deliver a birdie (or hole-in-one) that will ignite golf’s rowdiest fans. Why not one more indelible memory? There have been plenty from a long and winding professional career that brought much more than the Knouses could have envisioned when they met at a Colorado School of Mines booster scramble tournament (Knous was a Mines senior and Heidi was working in alumni relations).

    “There are no words … we have the best support network in the world,” Heidi said. “Family, friends, random people who have followed him because he was nice to them, for 12 years. It’s unbelievable, the people we’ve met out here. So thank you, everybody, for all you’ve done for us. Letting us stay at your houses, following along, it’s just been incredible, and we’re grateful for everybody that has been a part of #TeamHardK.”

    Knous reminisced Saturday on how he fell in love with the game, laughing that his dad probably loves golf more than he does (delivering this line with a smile and wink). He loved Ernie Els as a kid – “just that silky smooth swing that he has” – and he was addicted to seeing the world’s best battle it out. “Those guys made me want to live the dream,” he said of the late 1990s Tiger/Ernie era. He wanted to see how good he could get, and he got pretty good – highlights include earning his TOUR card, an ace at Torrey Pines and sharing the 54-hole lead at the 2021 Fortinet Championship. But most cherished, he said, were the experiences with his family.

    They’re out in droves this week – Heidi and the kids, parents Steve and Sarah, in-laws and many more family and friends. Some had to get creative in arranging travel, but they got here. They wouldn’t miss it. They were there for the opening tee shot Thursday, less than an hour before darkness after a nearly four-hour delay, and they were there in the Saturday morning chill as Knous delivered that closing birdie to secure a spot inside the cut line. They were living the dream with him.

    “I have always told him, if this stops today, it will still be the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Steve Knous said. “And it just kind of kept going. It’s a thrill, and I’m so happy for him. Our family is so proud of him.

    “We’re so proud of him,” added Sarah. “We really are.”

    As Knous played the par-3 16th hole during Friday’s second round, Steve Knous was asked to offer a message to his son. He briefly paused, savoring the scene, before delivering five words that said it all.

    “Thanks for the ride, Jim.”

    Jim Knous reflects on experience after finishing up at WM Phoenix Open

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

    Privacy PolicyTerms of UseAccessibility StatementDo Not Sell or Share My Personal InformationCookie ChoicesSitemap

    Copyright © 2024 PGA TOUR, Inc. All rights reserved.

    PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and the Swinging Golfer design are registered trademarks. The Korn Ferry trademark is also a registered trademark, and is used in the Korn Ferry Tour logo with permission.