Former PGA Tour pro Colt Knost on his career change and playing without fans

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Colt Knost has transformed his career from PGA Tour pro to budding member of golf media.

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In his years on the PGA Tour, Colt Knost earned a reputation among the media as one of the most candid, self-effacing pros in golf. Now, in retirement, he’s rewriting his professional script from the media’s perspective—hosting GOLF’s Subpar podcast among a series of other media endeavors.

In his appearance on the “Callaway Golf Podcast,” Knost was his usual self, dishing on everything from his transition from the pros to his take on a PGA Tour without fans.

“My last PGA Tour event was the Waste Management Phoenix Open and so now I’ve kinda set my career in another direction,” he said. “Switched over to a different side, that’s for sure, but I’m happy to be doing it.”

But while he’s no longer playing competitive golf, Knost still holds a deep knowledge of the Tour, including its plan to begin playing events in June with no fans in attendance.

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“It’ll feel like every tournament of my seven-year career,” he laughed. “Not playing in front of anyone for the most part.”

Knost isn’t alone in feeling as though professional golf without fans is a necessary, if uncomfortable evil.

“It’s unfortunate. I think fans are a huge part of sports,” he said. “It’s not the same, I’ll have to say. “

The PGA Tour has said it will conduct rigorous testing and is even considering enacting on-course social distancing measures for players, like removing rakes from bunkers and requiring players putt with the flagstick in.

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“I use the example, could you imagine playing the Waste Management Phoenix Open and going through 16 with nobody in there?” Knost said. “On Tuesday, you don’t feel anything. But once Thursday comes around it’s nuts, your adrenaline gets going, it’s part of golf.”

For players, the good news is that even without fans, the money will stay the same. But taking away audiences from events could have an untold impact on their gravity.

“To bring up Tiger, imagine him making the put to win at Augusta last year and the whole place was chanting ‘Tiger’, now it’s just going to be dead silent,” Knost said. “Him yelling would be weird.”

Players could even now be forced to adjust sightlines (and their behaviors) for the lack of fan involvement.

“With all the grandstands and everything they have on Tour, there’s always a target you can aim at,” Knost pointed out. “Things will definitely be different and will look very, different.

It’s sure to be a strange situation when golf makes its triumphant return in early June, but for Knost and others, even if it’s not perfect, it’s better than the alternative.

“It’s unfortunate, but times are tough right now and you gotta do what you gotta do.”

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James Colgan

Golf.com Editor