During a fine stint on the PGA Tour over the last decade or so, Russell Knox has accumulated upwards of $17 million.

Compared to Jon Rahm’s outrageous, multi-million-dollar deal with LIV Golf, though, Knox’s earnings look about as lucrative as the payslip of a Dickensian urchin.

Golf, it seems, has lost the plot. “It’s looking bad right now and I wish they could all start again,” sighed Knox of the general situation at the top of the men’s game which basically involves people throwing rolled up bundles of money at each other while sitting at a negotiating table. Or something like that.

As for Knox? Well, he’s not quite starting again but a trip to the qualifying school in Florida this week is something of a reset. It’s a bit like thumping the Ctrl Alt Del buttons on your laptop when the ruddy thing freezes.

After a trying season, Knox lost his full PGA Tour card. He’ll still get plenty of starts on the main circuit in 2024 – 12 to 15 by his own admission - but the Inverness exile has opted to return to the cut-and-thrust of the q-school in a bid to top up his ranking.

“You never want to lose your full card so maybe this is the kick up the backside I needed,” said the 38-year-old. “I’ve done the same thing for 10 years in a row, so maybe it’ll be nice to play less and be more energised when I do get to play because I’ll know I’ll have to make the most of every start. Somehow, I need to turn this year into a learning season rather than just a big disappointment.”

For a good while, Knox was Scotland’s standard bearer on the global stage. When he won his second PGA Tour title in 2016, he moved to 18th in the world rankings and had every reason to be brassed off about not getting the nod for that year’s European Ryder Cup team.

Here in 2023, he’s down in 326th place after a toiling campaign which saw him miss nine cuts in 10 events from February.

Pinpointing where it went wrong has been pretty easy. “I lost confidence with the driver,” admitted Knox, who also won the DP World Tour’s Irish Open in 2018. “To be honest, this has been creeping in for two or three years. This year it just got bad.

“You play against these younger guys and they’re fearless and they just smash it. For some reason, I was getting anxiety on the tee. I would hit four or five perfect drives in a row and then, out of the blue, I’d get nervous over a pretty routine tee shot. I felt I was costing myself a couple of shots a round. Do that over four rounds and the impact is enormous.

“I was working so hard mentally to make the cut because my game just wasn’t there and I just exhausted myself. When you are playing your best stuff, golf seems effortless. But this year, it was just hard, hard work.

“I’ve been a pro for 16 years. I know how to play. But my brain has interfered with my ability. As you get older, the mental side of the game gets harder. You get bad thoughts. I can’t remember having any of those when I was younger.”

There may not have been much to rouse the spirits over the past few months, but Knox doesn’t have to look far for some fresh, morale-boosting inspiration.

“We built a little back room on our house and my wife lets me keep all my golf stuff there,” he said of this addition to his Jacksonville abode. “All my trophies are there.

"In golf, you never know if you’ll ever win. It’s a hard sport. So, it’s nice to go into that room now and then and think, ‘oh yeah, I was good at this game at one point’. I maybe don’t do it enough. I still feel I can win again. And there are still a few gaps in the room where I can put some trophies.”

Knox will be joined in Florida next year by new PGA Tour recruit, Robert MacIntyre. Any pearls of wisdom for his young compatriot?

“Try to hit the ground running and go for it,” said Knox. “And just enjoy it too because you never know how long you’ll have.”

Knox is hoping he’ll be around on the PGA Tour for a while yet.