Top Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox jets off to London tonight with two major goals between now and the end of the European Tour season.
A month long break in New Zealand has the 32-year-old optimistic he can secure his place in the Race to Dubai season finale and a captain's pick in Ernie Els' team for the President's Cup at Royal Melbourne in December.
Fox finished tied for 16th at the British Open last month, his best result in a major. It rejuvenated him after a lean period following his honeymoon in March where he had missed seven straight cuts after the Malaysian Open including the US Open and PGA Championship.
"It was certainly nice to come home on a high," Fox said. "I was always planning on having a break after the Open and not playing as poorly as I did in the lead up. It felt like it was a reset after that, I could come home, play some golf and be ready for the rest of the season."
That rest of the season includes a handful of lucrative Rolex Series events, and if he plays well enough to boost his ranking (currently 104), a spot at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in China.
Fox took six weeks off early in the season soon after winning his first European Tour title in Perth where he got married and honeymooned in South Africa. The extended break impacted on his form when he returned. So he changed things up after returning home following his success at the British Open.
"I took the first week off after the Open. But the theory after the honeymoon that I would take a lot of time off and cram the last couple of weeks didn't work as well as I had hoped, so I have sort of done more little and often this time, gone out and played every day for the last three weeks or at least three or four times a week and I spent a lot time with Marcus (Wheelhouse his coach).
"I wouldn't say I've done a massive amount of practice but that is more weather based than anything else. The golf game feels in pretty good shape and I still have a few days in London where the weather forecast is great and then a few days in Switzerland before the European Masters next week."
Fox is 54th in the European Tour standings with the top 50 at the end of the season qualifying for the lucrative Tour finale in Dubai.
"So I have a little bit of work to do. One of the major goals is to win again and if I do that I will certainly take care of that final series. Everything needs a little bit of improvement, you are always looking at the little one percenters. I have been working on my short game with Marcus back here, my putting has been letting me down a little bit."
The eight automatic picks were confirmed this week for the international team for December's President's Cup in Melbourne. Captain Ernie Els has four captain's picks and is sure to hand one of those to Australian former world number one Jason Day. So with three spots up for grabs does Fox still have a chance?
"Obviously I missed the boat there and had a lot of big events to try to get in the top eight and I have only myself to blame there. But it still remains a big goal and would be something pretty special at the end of the year with at least a win and some decent results to make a push. Having played Royal Melbourne a lot might count a little bit but I would still have to be in red hot form to warrant a pick from Ernie."
Next week's European Masters in Switzerland marks the start of a huge few months fore the Kiwi number one. And if nothing else he feels mentally and physically in a much better space than he was in this time last year.
"The goal this year was to make sure I didn't crash and burn at the end of the season and I certainly feel better than I did last season. It's certainly nice to have two decent breaks during the year and hopefully I come back from this break a little better than I did the last one and make a big push towards the Presidents Cup and the top 50 in the world."
Fox intends on playing all the big events and some smaller tournaments in between with the view to play two weeks on and one off through to the end of the season.