Ryan Fox's outlook ahead of PGA Championship

Publish Date
Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 6:28PM

By Christopher Reive

One of golf’s cliches is that the sport isn’t about how good your good shots are, but how bad your bad shots are.

Through 12 events on the PGA Tour this season, that cliche has largely dictated Ryan Fox’s year; when the bad shots aren’t quite so bad, the Kiwi has been able to put things together.

That was evident last week when Fox earned a T4 finish at the Myrtle Beach Classic, finishing the tournament at 15-under-par. It was his best four-round performance by score this season by seven shots and a strong way to head into this week’s PGA Championship – the second major of the season.

“It was nice to feel like I could play golf again and not be fighting something; to go out, hit some shots and try to make a score, not try to make a golf swing and hope I don’t hit it too far in the crap,” Fox told the Herald.

“There was still some iffy stuff last week, but it was certainly a lot better; the bad shots were a lot better, which is the thing that’s been killing me the most this year. When I’ve hit bad shots, they’ve been really destructive. Last week they weren’t, which was nice. I took advantage of my good shots, started to get some confidence again, and that’s always nice going into a major.”

“It was certainly nice to put four rounds together and have a good result, and good timing heading into the PGA Championship this week.”

Heading into the event at Myrtle Beach, Fox noted that it was an opportunity for him to put a result on the board as the tournament was an opposite-field event, with players ranked higher in the FedEx Cup standings competing for a chunk of the US$20m purse at the Wells Fargo Championship.

While that was the case, Fox said he had gone away from putting expectations on himself heading into tournaments and hoped to simply let his game flow naturally, and that served him well last week.

“It’s just go out and try to play the best that I can. I know my good golf is competitive, and that’s the goal this week – just to go out and continue to play some good golf after last week and hopefully that puts me in the mix come Sunday.”

Fox finished in a tie for 23rd in his PGA Championship debut last year when the tournament was played at Oak Hill Country Club in New York. This year, Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky plays host and serves up a testing stage for the world’s best golfers.

“It’s a big-boy golf course this week,” he said.

“You do have a few chances with a wedge if you drive the ball well, and I feel like it’s going to be one of those weeks where the scoring’s pretty spread out. You can shoot a low score around here, but you can shoot a high score pretty quickly if you’re a little bit off – especially around the greens; the rough is pretty nasty so it’s going to be a bit tough to get the ball up and down.

“I drove the ball really well last week so hopefully I can do that this week and give myself some scoring opportunities.”

He won’t be the only Kiwi teeing it up at Valhalla this week, with rising star Kazuma Kobori also earning a place in the field. It will be the 22-year-old’s debut at a major championship, securing his invitation to join the field by claiming last season’s Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.

Fox played nine holes with Kobori - who turned professional only in November last year - at Valhalla on Tuesday [NZ time], and said this week would be a great opportunity for the young golfer to experience the top level.

“It’s pretty amazing to see. What? Six months into being professional, he’s playing his first major. It’s a pretty big step up for him to go from amateur golf not very long ago to the Aussie tour and now playing in a major. He understands that as well,” Fox said.

“It’s going to really test his game out. It’s probably a lot longer and a lot tougher set-up-wise than most of the stuff he’s played in the past, but that’s how you learn. I hope for him that he doesn’t put any expectations on himself this week and just goes out to try to enjoy the experience.

“He’s got a long professional career ahead of him and this week’s not going to make or break anything for him so he can just go out and enjoy it. It’s a cool opportunity for him and great to have another Kiwi at a major.”

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

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you