How ‘Warnie’ helped Ryan Fox back to the top

Golf courses are sanctuaries for a lot of people, but when it’s your job it’s a bit harder to get into that mindset.

Ryan Fox has recently tried to be like anyone else – enjoy golf for what it is, instead of worrying too much about the end result. And, considering the year he’s had with the death of his father-in-law and very little time with family amongst it all, he’s had to find a way to make his job enjoyable again.

That’s where his mental skills coach, UK-based Karl Morris, has come into the picture more this year. Fox enlisted Morris, who worked with Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen when they both won majors in 2010, about four years ago.

“Last year we came up with the concept of just trying to beat the golf course,” Fox told 1News.

“Nothing else matters, it doesn’t matter who’s there or anything else, it’s just trying to beat the golf course. Some weeks beating the golf course might literally be shooting par at a US Open, but other weeks you feel like you can have a good number. It’s simplified everything down the stretch.”

Down the stretch is where Fox excelled the most at Wentworth, firing six-under for his back-nine alone in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship, including a birdie at the 72nd hole to clinch the tournament by a shot.

“It took the pressure off everything and I felt like that down the stretch yesterday – there are some pretty uncomfortable shots down there and it was just, ‘ok I’ve just got to hit this one.’ And that’s it. I felt probably a lot more calm than I should’ve in that situation.”

But it’s also helped him channel the mindset of a close mate – the late, great Shane Warne. Fox got to know the legendary Australian cricketer over a number of years, particularly when they teamed up at the Alfred Dunhill Links pro-am event in Scotland.

“This year there’s probably been a bit more [of a focus] about having the golf course as a sanctuary,” he says. “The golf course is the one place you can go and escape from everything else that’s going on and, for the most part, it’s kind of worked.

“I always think of a guy like Warnie – no matter what was going on off the cricket pitch he could always get on there and perform and it was like a sanctuary, there were no distractions out there.

“Karl’s a cricketer at heart, like me, and so we kind of went like that, he’s the guy. So that certainly helped a lot of times this year when it was really tough off the golf course and it was easy to get into a decent mindset.”

Fox has risen 11 places to 31st in the Official World Golf Rankings off the back of the victory.

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