Golf: Kiwi Ryan Fox celebrates dream invitation to US Masters after career-best season in Europe

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox has finally realised a lifelong ambition, after receiving an official invitation to the 2023 US Masters in April.

Fox, 35, enjoyed a career year on the 2022 European Tour with two victories, second overall in the tour standings and a world ranking of 23rd that seemed likely to open doors across all levels of the game.

None of those opportunities loomed larger to Fox than the prospect of lining up for the Masters at the iconic Augusta National course.

That prospect has turned to reality, with the invitation arriving over the Christmas-New Year break.

"It's official!" Fox posted on Instagram. "Pretty cool to come home from holiday and have this in the letterbox waiting.

"It really is a dream come true to play my first @themasters."

Many of New Zealand's top sporting personalities have responded to share Fox's joy, including All Blacks Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett and Anton Lienart-Brown, cricketer Martin Guptill, rowing legend Eric Murray and Olympic trampoline medallist Dylan Schmidt.

Fox hosted celebrities from all walks of life at the 'Chasing the Fox' tournament last month and has contested the last two Olympics as part of the New Zealand team.

After winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews' - the 'Home of Golf' - last October, he revealed his excitement at the likelihood of playing the Masters.

"The Masters has been a goal for a long time," he told Newshub. "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."

Ryan Fox (centre) hosts sporting celebrities at the 'Chasing the Fox' tournament
Ryan Fox (left centre) hosts sporting celebrities at the 'Chasing the Fox' tournament. Photo credit: Photosport

Fox also admitted the Masters was a major reason he had rebuffed approaches from the rebel LIV Tour.

"For me, the events I'm going to get to play next year on the PGA Tour, it was kind of a no-brainer," he told Newshub. "They're events I've dreamed of.

"You throw the Masters and a bunch of the other Majors in there, and there's a bit of uncertainty about how LIV players are going to get treated around them. For me, I can't turn down that dream."