Golf: Kiwi hope prepares for 'Year of the Fox'

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox
Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox. Photo credit: Getty

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox is taking inspiration from a long-time rival, as he prepares to make 2019 his most successful season yet.

Last year, Fox showed he wasn't too far off matching it with the best golfers on the planet, earning career-best results at the US Open, The (British) Open Championship and PGA Championship Majors.

The 31-year-old ended 2018 at 94 in world rankings and has two main goals to tick off during his eighth year as a professional.

"To get a win [on the European Tour] and the next big step is to get into the top 50 in the world, so those are the two biggies for the year," Fox told Newshub, before his opening tournament in Abu Dhabi.

The blueprint to achieving those aims is Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who rose to superstardom last year as part of the Ryder Cup-winning European team and a runner-up finish at the US Open.

"I played a lot of golf with Tommy as an amateur 10 years ago and it took him a little while to find his way on tour," said Fox. "2017 was his breakout year and 2018 was even better, and he's turned into a world-class player now.

"Hopefully, 2019 can be my year."

Fox came as close as you can get to winning a maiden European Tour title at the Irish Open last year, denied by two 40-foot putts from Scotsman Russell Knox, as his own putt lipped out in the playoff.

"Although it sucked a little bit to be on the receiving end of that, I know, if I'm in that situation again, I can handle the pressure and hopefully I can come across on top the next time it happens."

The burly Aucklander can match it with anyone in the world when it comes to driving, finishing number one in yardage ahead of the likes of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson at last year's US Open, but his short game needs to improve, if he's to rise up the rankings and win trophies.

"I've done a fair bit of work on the putting in the last 10 days. It was the most inconsistent club in the bag and it's probably the most important, so it might take a little bit more time to get that right, but we're on the right track which is nice."

While 2019 is officially the Year of the Pig on the Chinese calendar, for New Zealand golf fans, you can't help but feel it might be the 'Year of the Fox'.


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