04 Oct 2022 | Professional golf |

Red hot Fox defers to Smith as summer's headliner

by Australian Golf Media

Ryan Fox, Cameron Smith image
Ryan Fox celebrates on Sunday and (inset) Cameron Smith jubilant at St Andrews. Photos: Getty

By Tony Webeck

They have both lifted silverware at the Home of Golf in 2022 but Kiwi Ryan Fox is under no illusion who the headline act will be for the upcoming Australian summer of golf.

All seven of the Aussies currently inside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking are locked in to return to the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australia in November but only one is ranked more highly than Fox.

A three-time winner on the PGA Tour of Australasia, Fox climbed to a career-high of No.25 in the world ranking on the back of his one-stroke victory at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

In an eerily similar scenario to that which Cameron Smith faced in the final round of The Open in July, Fox had to fight back from four strokes down through 54 holes to complete his own emotional victory at St Andrews.

His second win of the season elevated him to third on the DP World Tour Rankings behind Rory McIlroy and US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick.

His immediate focus is on pushing for the Order of Merit crown over the final six events of the season but the 35-year-old is already looking forward to the first two events of the 2023 season in the country he calls his “second home”.

“In the short term I’m just focusing on playing out on the DP World Tour. I’ve got an outside shot to win the Order of Merit here,” Fox told RSN Breakfast Club.

“I’ve got to try and beat ‘Fitz’ and Rory which is a lot easier said than done and I’m also looking forward to coming back to Aussie for the Aussie PGA and the Aussie Open at the end of the year.

“I haven’t played in Aussie for two-and-a-half years which is really strange. It felt like a second home for a long time so I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and playing those two events.”

Despite his continually elevated place in the hierarchy of world golf, Fox remains a humble champion.

There was widespread dismay when he was overlooked for the International team to contest the Presidents Cup and, although he will be one of the highest-ranked players in the field at both Royal Queensland and Victoria and Kingston Heath, recognises who the major drawcard will be.

“You’ve got another headline act that is probably going to take all of the credit there in Cam Smith,” Fox added of the man who joined Jack Nicklaus as the only men to win both THE PLAYERS and The Open in the same year.

“That’s well deserved but I’m certainly looking forward to coming back and playing.

“I played Royal Queensland in an Aussie Amateur in 2009 (Fox was defeated by Daniel Beckmann at the 19th hole in the semi-finals) and Kingston Heath and Victoria are two of the greatest golf courses in the world.

“To get a chance to play them in tournament conditions is just amazing.

“I’m looking forward to coming back and playing some golf close to home again.”

Although Fox will end his 2022 campaign in Australia he is looking even further afield to begin his 2023 schedule.

If he can maintain his position inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking Fox will have access to starts on the PGA TOUR, an opportunity he intends to take up.

“I love being able to go to different countries in Europe week in, week out but obviously the PGA TOUR has done a few things in the last little while that makes it even more lucrative than it was,” said Fox, who was the 2019 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner.

“I’d love a chance to play over there. That’s always been the dream and I’ve probably given myself a chance of getting into some of those much bigger events early next year with where I’m at in the rankings.

“I’ll certainly take that opportunity and see what comes of it.”

Hear the RSN interview with Ryan Fox here

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