New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox is hoping to feed off the excitement generated by the playing group in front of him in the first two rounds at the US PGA Championship, starting Friday morning at Bethpage Black in New York.

The 32-year-old tees off at 8.35am (12.35am NZT) in the group behind 15-time major winner Woods, defending champion Brooks Koepka and Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari.

"It's much better playing the group behind him than the group in front of him by all accounts," Fox said. "I played behind him at the Open Championship at Carnoustie last year. It was certainly a bit different having so many people out on the golf course.

"The atmosphere will be great, rowdy and I might have to put up with people moving here and there and it's just something you deal with. I don't mind playing in front of big crowds generally and it should be a bit of fun.


"You just have to pick your moments and not tee off while he is looking like holing a putt on the green because that Tiger roar is something pretty special."

Fox is expecting play to be even slower than normal and the round could take as many as five and a half hours to complete.

"I don't think it will be a very quick tournament anyway. The greens are tricky as well and it's long, the rough's up and guys will have to lay up on par fours. Obviously with the amount of people around Tiger's group the whole time, that group is generally slower than most and it's just dealing with that many people getting around the golf course."

Fox admits his preparation for his first major of the year has been less than ideal, with last week's British Masters the only tournament he has had in the past six weeks. He missed the cut in Southport but is comfortable with his scheduling.

"I have tried to take a bit more time off to be more ready at the back end of the year than I have the last couple of years," Fox said.

Ryan Fox. Photo / Photosport
Ryan Fox. Photo / Photosport

The Kiwi number one is tempering expectations however with his immediate goal, playing well enough to make the cut to play the weekend on a course he describes as "a brute".

"It's the kind of golf course that if you do get it going you can get a score and if you can shoot 4 or 5 under you are going to go a long way forward. If I can be around for the weekend that's great and teeing up with the best players in the world that's where you want to be."

He has only managed one practice round so far this week and will play again tomorrow before the tournament starts.


"With the conditions we have had the last couple of days, yesterday I didn't get a chance to get out because it was wet and cold and today thankfully today it was dry but very cold.

"The golf course is playing long; the rough is long enough and with it being wet its making it very tough. I haven't hit as many 4 and 5 irons into par fours and threes as I didn't out there today.

"The rough is not scary like the US Open but is certainly penal. It's a golf course you have to hit your driver on and you can't lay back and try to hit fairways so the guy who drives the best this week is going to have a great chance."

On the face of it that's not encouraging for Fox's chances with his driving accuracy a relative low 43 percent on tour this season. However he feels that statistic is a bit misleading.

"We play some pretty narrow golf courses on the European Tour and this one is a bit more even. It is more forgiving off the tee with it being soft and it generally stays in the fairway if it lands in the fairway here.

"It's still puts a paramount on hitting the driver well and that has generally been a good club in my bag in the past couple of years. So hopefully I can take advantage off the tee and make it play a little bit shorter than it did today [during the practice round]."

The other Kiwi in the field is Danny Lee who Fox caught up with on the putting greens.

"He is excited to be out there, it seems like a golf course that will work well for him because he drives pretty straight. He has had some decent results this year, has been hit and miss at times but his game has been very good."