Ryan Fox's new view ahead of Masters return

Publish Date
Wednesday, 10 April 2024, 7:15AM

By Christopher Reive

Ryan Fox is seeing Augusta National Golf Club from a new perspective.

In 2023, the Kiwi golfer achieved a career milestone when he made his first appearance at the Masters, finishing his tournament debut in a tie for 26th.

For many, the Masters holds a special place on the golfing calendar and is arguably the biggest tournament of the year - and making that debut appearance was a week to savour for Fox.

Heading into this year’s tournament at Augusta, Fox told the Herald his experience in 2023 had allowed him to take a slightly different approach to the tournament this time around.

“The novelty of it being Augusta has worn off a little bit - in a good way,” Fox said.

“The enjoyment of it, the realising how special it is is still there, but it’s a bit more like ‘okay, it’s a golf course now, not the Holy Grail’.

“Getting to play it like I did last year, that’s certainly going to help me and the extra knowledge of having played it a bunch of times last year is going to help. It’s certainly something I’m looking forward to. The form I’m a little bit apprehensive about.”

The 2024 season has been a struggle for Fox through eight events, with five missed cuts and a best finish of a tie for 35th. Last week, he finished +5 through his opening two rounds of the Valero Texas Open, missing the cut by four shots.

Things move up a notch for the Masters, with the first major of the season featuring the world’s top golfers - with athletes from both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf invited.

“Major golf is pretty tough,” Fox said.

“You’re playing against the best players in the world on tough set-ups and my game certainly hasn’t been up to scratch in that regard this year, but I’ve said it a bunch of times - you’re only two swings away from it being good and I’d certainly like to find those two swings at some point this week.”

While he failed to make the cut last week, there were some good signs for Fox. After a rough start in his opening round saw him sitting at four-over after six holes, he played 12 good holes of golf to finish his round at two-under. He couldn’t continue that form into the second round.

But after a practice round at Augusta on Tuesday (NZ time), Fox said there were good signs in how he was striking the ball ahead of Friday morning’s opening round.

“We got the tougher side of the draw last week. Friday afternoon was exceptionally brutal. The wind got up and the golf course got really firm and fast and I let it get away from me on a couple of holes.

“There was actually a fair bit of good in the second round, I just didn’t take advantage of it and I really putted poorly in the second round. The score was a lot worse than how I played, but that’s golf for you.

“I feel like the game’s close, I did some good work today and everything’s hopefully trending in the right direction.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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