VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Ryan Fox of New Zealand poses with the trophy in the locker room following victory on Day Four of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club on September 17, 2023 in Virginia Water, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
INTERVIEW: BMW PGA WINNER RYAN FOX
Q: Ryan, welcome to the media centre. Tell us about your round.
RYAN FOX: Yeah, I mean, perfect start, had a really good chance, gave myself two chances and just hit one off from three out of nowhere. Played the hole pretty badly from there as well and made bogey with the second ball. I thought I was out of the tournament, to be honest.
I saw Tyrrell had started well; I saw Jon Rahm had started well, and you know, if you’re five or six back from those guys, it’s going to be tough to claw back.
And basically I didn’t miss a shot coming down the stretch from the third hole, and obviously, you know, it’s a pretty tough back nine at times and that’s easily the best I’ve ever played it, socially, in a tournament, whatever, but to do it on a Sunday is tremendous.
Q, You’ve won a few times on the DP World Tour and around the world, but talk about winning a Rolex Series Event and what that means.
RYAN FOX: Yeah, it’s special, especially this Rolex Series Event. I think a year ago here, I pulled out after the first round of the tournament, thought my season was over. Made a comeback this year, and to win and play like I did down the stretch, looking at the names on that leaderboard, there are some pretty good ones and it’s still pretty surreal to kind of out play them down the stretch.
I don’t think I quite believe it in my head yet but the trophy is sitting there.
Q.After the past year, is this more of an emotional win?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, it’s been a difficult year. Both my mother- and father-in-law were dying of cancer. Father-in-law passed away in June after a really short battle and that kind of whacked us pretty hard.
Yeah, I’ve done a lot of travel. I’ve played a bit in the States this year, and I think every time I’ve gone home, I’ve basically not touched my golf clubs. There’s just been so much going on at home. To have the family up the last couple of weeks, a change of scenery has been fantastic. Just had a chance to refresh and it sort of made all the difference. Everything feels a bit more normal the last couple of weeks rather than just complete chaos.
Yeah, pretty cool to win with everyone around here watching absent my father-in-law, but I know he would be proud.
Q.On the 4th tee, did you see 8-under the rest of the round>?
RYAN FOX: Probably not. I was five shots behind Tyrrell and Jon at that point. No, definitely not. But that’s probably why you shouldn’t gamble on sports when you think like that.
Q.What does it mean, having won here and on the Old Course at St Andrews?
RYAN FOX: Amazing. Two iconic venues on the DP World Tour. You look at the list of names that have won by them, that’s pretty significant, and to add my name to the list, especially this week is incredible.
My track record around this golf course, it’s probably not something I ever thought would happen but it’s very cool. My caddie actually won around here with Ben An in 2015, was it. So he’s got a nice history around here but certainly had not translated to me until this year.
Q.When did you think you had a chance?
RYAN FOX: Probably when I birdied 14. Obviously I knew I was close but Tyrrell, every time I looked, Tyrrell was picking the ball up out of the hole. The conditions when we were on 14 were awful as well, and thought, well, if you can par into the house, I have a really good chance here.
We got lucky to, actually come off. If we had carried on playing those last three or four holes, it would have been really, really tough.
But to go back out and play them in relatively calm conditions was nice. That birdie on 15 made a massive difference. That’s a pretty horrible hole to get up after a break. The big tee shot there, I kept it out of trouble which was the main thing and had a creative second shot, and I think that got me into the lead.
It’s a nerve-wracking last three holes around this golf course, so to hang on to a lead, and knowing in this case can happen both ways, you can make doubles triples birdies and eagles, I was pretty happy to get away Scot free, really.
Q.How much did you have from the trees?
RYAN FOX: I think I had 172 metres and it was a nice punk 7-iron. I had a perfect gap. It was framed nicely through the trees and came out exactly as I wanted it. It was a guess on the yardage but came out pretty good in the end.
Q.(What was the key this week?)
RYAN FOX: Just working with my coach, Jamie Gough. It was close. I had driven it really well last week and I knew it wasn’t that far away. Outside of that wild one I hit down 3 today, everything for the rest of the week was really good. It was just a little bit of rhythm to be honest. Today I felt really good apart from that third tee shot and had some really good drives down the stretch.
Probably didn’t expect it at start of the week. I was pretty happy with 3-under and how I played. And even with the triple, today was the best I’ve played all week.
Q.Have you spoke to anyone back home?
RYAN FOX: I spoke to my mom and dad and they are obviously very chuffed. I checked a WhatsApp group with my mates, waking up going what the hell is going on here. I will enjoy winding them up about it, that’s for sure.
Q.(On winning ahead of Ryder Cup team members.)
RYAN FOX: I can certainly be very chuffed with when I beat down the stretch, you look at the leaderboard, Rory is there, Tyrrell is there, Adam Scott is there, Rahm, beat those guys down the stretch is pretty incredible.
It certainly wasn’t anything (focused) with The Ryder Cup. I’ll be fully supporting them in a couple of weeks. It’s pretty cool just coming down the stretch in a golf tournament with those names on the board having a chance, and it’s even better sitting here having got it done.
Q.Will you be able to go see the All Blacks now?
RYAN FOX: I don’t know, I mean, this may change the schedule. I may have an extra week somewhere. I would certainly like to. You know, hopefully France, hopefully we play a little better than we have done but I’d love to go and support the boys. At some point I’ve played golf with a couple of them and would certainly love to go and support them. I think it’s looking like a great World Cup so far, and we’ll see what happens in the quarterfinals.