Golf: Kiwi Ryan Fox eyes US Masters dream, after career-best victory at St Andrews, world rankings surge

After victory on one of the world's most iconic golf courses, Kiwi Ryan Fox is now poised to realise a dream on another of the game's most prestigious venues at next year's US Masters.

Fox's triumph at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Scotland's St Andrews course - the 'Home of Golf' - has netted him US$800,000 (NZ$1.46m) and catapulted him to third on the DP World Tour rankings, with the tour championship at Dubai looming next month.

Perhaps most importantly, the result has sent him hurtling up the world rankings to a career-high of 25th, helped in no small part by the defection of many of the world's top exponents to the rebel LIV Tour.

Already a fixture in Europe, Fox can now expect more doors to open across the Atlantic on the American PGA Tour, including a likely invitation to the last Major still do be ticked off on his bucket list - the US Masters at Augusta National.

"My phone's been going crazy, so I probably haven't had a lot of time to sit down and think about it, but it's pretty surreal to be honest," he told Newshub. "It's a pretty iconic championship, that one, and to have my name on the trophy and win a tournament at St Andrews is very, very cool.

"It's going to take a bit of time to fully sink in and all the other stuff that comes with it."

The result was his third victory on the European tour across a career that has already seen him contest three of the four most prestigious tournaments in the world - the British Open Championship, the US Open and PGA Championship.

His ranking now qualifies him for the fourth jewel in the crown.

"If you'd said, at some point, I'd be the 25th-best golfer in the world, I don't know I would have believed you," said Fox. "The Masters has been a goal for a long time.

"I'll believe it a bit more when I get the invite, but it's nice to know I'm in a position where it's basically impossible to fall outside the qualification criteria by the end of the year.

"It's been a goal for a long time and I'll certainly be excited to get there, come April next year."

Fox, 35, played the other three Majors this year, missing the cut at the British Open and US Open, and finishing 54th at the PGA Championship - but with all its traditions, the Masters stands out from the pack.
Ryan Fox and caddy Dean Smith survey St Andrews. Photo credit: Getty

"Monday mornings in New Zealand, the timing was great," he said. "It's the only one played on the same course every time, so you learn the holes even by watching it on TV.

"I'm very excited to see it in person and experience it. It's probably the most well-known golf tournament in the world, although the [British] Open is very special as well, being the oldest."

Fox would relish the opportunity to play more events on the lucrative US circuit, but understands those offers may comes with sacrifices.

Over the years, he has been a regular visitor to his home tournament - the NZ Open - but that may become a casualty of his newfound status, depending on how his 2023 schedule shapes up.

"I haven't had a chance to look at it properly at the moment," he admitted. "The NZ Open is a fantastic event, and one I always want to come back and play.

"I don't know whether it clashes with any of those big events. If it does clash, that's something I've got to figure out pretty quickly, but I'll certainly doing my best to come back for the NZ Open in late February/early March."