Skin Deep: Ryan Fox - I've been close to chucking it in

In the second of a five-part series golfer Ryan Fox talks about how close he came to quitting the game and being the son of an All Black.

On being 'Grant Fox's son'

I'm still happy to be known as Grant Fox's son. There's no issue there but I don't mind being recognised as Ryan Fox the golfer every now and again too.

On catching the golf 'bug'

Golfer's talk about 'catching the bug' and I had the bug from when I was about 14 or 15. As many Sunday morning's has possible spent playing golf. After I left school and tried tournament golf or competition golf for the first time I absolutely loved it. I was completely hooked then.

On not playing rugby?

I really enjoyed playing rugby at school but I felt like I got targeted a little bit. There was always going to be a comparison there and fortunately I ended up playing first five-eighth and goal kicking as well so I couldn't have tried to replicate Dad more really.

The parallels between rugby and golf, there's not necessarily a lot but I thought there was a lot of parallels between goal kicking and golf. Obviously Dad was pretty decent at that for the most part.

'All I wanted to do was play sport'

As a kid the only thing I ever wanted to do was play sport. I didn't know what sport it was. Mum and Dad were really proud and happy to support me in whatever I wanted to do and in the end that happened to be golf.

The pressure of being a pro

When you turn professional you start completely from the bottom again. You've spent four or five years doing all this work and you've got one tournament to basically determine my future. If I didn't play well in that tournament, then I wouldn't have had any golf to play the following year.

On almost chucking it in

I've been very close to chucking it in, maybe twice, but definitely once at the end of my second year as a professional. I was really struggling with everything. Travel was getting to me, I wasn't playing very well, I missed a lot of cuts and looking like I was missing my card for the next year. At that point I was pretty happy if that happened. I was going to find another career.

I had a big chat to Dad about it and we had two events left in the year and he said 'all we're going to do is go out and have fun'. [He asked] 'Why do you enjoy golf?' and I said 'It's supposed to be fun'. That seemed to work and I finished fifth the next week and made enough money to keep my tour card for the following year.

On being mentally tough

I'd like to think of myself as pretty mentally tough on the golf course and I can definitely thank Dad for that.

You can never be perfect

Golf is a sport you can never be perfect at. It's always a strive for perfection. You can never play a perfect round of golf. You always hit one or two shots that bring you back the next day. I guess the challenge to do that more and more is what drives me and I think what drives a lot of golfers as well.

Career highlights

I've got three major highlights in my golfing career. Making the New Zealand Eisenhower Trophy team. I was the third generation of my family to make a New Zealand team, in three different sports. At the time that was huge. Qualifying for the British Open in 2015 at St Andrews. It's every golfer's dream to play in a major and hoping to get my first one at the home of golf. The third one is a pretty easy one, obviously representing New Zealand at the Olympics last year. Again to say I'm representing New Zealand at the highest level in golf, to be one of three of the first Olympian golfers to represent New Zealand, an honour and something I'll never forget.

- NZ Herald

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