US Open: NZ's Ryan Fox ready to tackle daunting Winged Foot course

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox is embracing the challenge of what Tiger Woods has labelled one of the three toughest courses in the world .

Starting Thursday (NZ time), Winged Foot Golf Club will host the 2020 US Open - the sixth time the tournament has been staged there.

"If you don't hit it well, then you can't play round a US Open golf course," Fox tells Newshub.  "I've certainly done it well in the last 7-8 weeks. 

"It might help this week playing a really tough golf course, where even par is a really good score."

In fact, par has proved a very good score at the New York course. Of the five US Opens held there, only once did the winner finish under par, with winning scores as high as seven over (Hale Irwin in 1974).

"I think it's a quintessential US Open golf course this week - long rough and firm greens," Fox adds.

The great Jack Nicholas once called these putting surfaces the most difficult set of greens he's ever played and Fox certainly agrees.

"They're definitely the toughest greens I've ever played," Fox says. "It's a golf course that just doesn't give you anything."

With long rough and narrow fairways, hitting the ball straight has never been so important. 

"I feel like you've got one or two decent birdie chances in 18 holes, and the rest of it is kind of hang on for dear life and hope you don't make too many mistakes.

"If you gave me four over for four rounds and I don't have to tee it up, I think that'll give me a pretty damn good chance of winning.

"I think if you shoot par for a week, you're probably going to win."

If history is anything to go by, Fox is probably right.

The Kiwi will tee off early as part of the first group, alongside American Brandon Wu and Australian Curtis Lock.