Ryan Fox, 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, Final Interview - 17th February 2019
OLIVIA McMILLAN: Well, congratulations, Ryan Fox, our 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth champion. Tell us how you're feeling.
RYAN FOX: Quite happy to be out of the chaos at the moment. It still hasn't quite sunk in. Obviously very happy, and I'm sure over the next couple days I'll get to reflect a little bit more on it. I've been close a couple of times now and it's nice to get over the line finally.
OLIVIA McMILLAN: First European Tour win and it's here in Perth. Perth's also the site of your first ever professional win. Should we make you an honorary West Aussie like Michael Long?
RYAN FOX: I still could call New Zealand home, but I think you've got enough Kiwis over here as it is from what I understand. Look, Perth, WA have been really good to me, always played pretty well here. Had a couple decent results here before this week. Always enjoy coming.
I think Perth feels a little bit like Auckland for some reason. Got a few friends here who were out yesterday supporting as well. Yeah, it's just funny, you get a good feel about a place and it makes it easy to play well. I've certainly got that around here.
OLIVIA McMILLAN: And you're getting married in three weeks, so the winner's cheque has I'm sure boosted the budget for the wedding there.
RYAN FOX: I think it's probably already being spent, to be honest. It's been 10 years in the making getting married. Actually killed one of my speech jokes. I was looking at saying I was going to run my speech as a golf speech and say I haven't done one for a while and that my mates would give me a better stick about that, but they can't give me that anymore, which is quite nice.
Looking forward to that, yeah. Hopefully we get a decent day weather‑wise. Yeah, I've got some practise kissing a trophy as well, which was nice.
OLIVIA McMILLAN: Questions from the floor.
Q. Ryan, I don’t think you lost a hole today. How does that feel?
RYAN FOX: Yep, I think so. Didn't lose a hole. I didn't make a bogey in regulation. I think I made a bogey in the playoff hole and then got very lucky that Jazz missed a short putt. I say that all the time, you need some luck to win in this game and I had a fair bit of it today. Nice to ride it and be sitting here talking to you guys.
Q. How much confidence did you have going into that final round?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, there was some confidence there. Adrian's got a pretty damn good record in match play as well. I think that's the only game he's lost as a professional in match play from what I understand. He was always going to be pretty tough.
I quite enjoyed getting to sit down after the semi final and kind of take stock of things and try to relax a little bit. Between the quarters and the semi and the first round I played, I literally walked from basically 18th green to the tee and it was a bit manic, so it was nice to just take stock. I think when I got to the 10th tee, or the first Super 6 hole, I felt a lot calmer than I did in the earlier matches and I played my best golf in the match play comfortably in that final.
Q. We talked the other day about you changing your mindset because of what's happened to you in the last two years. You missed out on finals both times, didn't you?
RYAN FOX: Missed out in the playoff and then missed out by a shot last year. It was nice to make it comfortable into the match play and I guess anything can happen from there. Obviously, it did.
Q. You mentioned straight to the tee. Did that also maybe work in your favour, you didn't get a chance to think about some of the not‑so‑great golf you played before?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, I never felt like it was that far away. For me, if I drive the ball okay, I feel pretty comfortable about things. Generally, off the tee I was pretty straight this week.
It was nice, it is nice to keep rolling, but I think I basically felt like I was a little bit rushed getting to that 10th tee and probably got lucky that the guys didn't take advantage of maybe a couple scruffy shots early when I had a chance to sit down and take stock.
Yeah, it was just nice to go to that first tee a bit more relaxed, a bit more how you normally go into a tournament round of golf. I certainly felt a bit more in control of things out on that final than I did in the quarter and the semi.
Q. Did the experience of losing the playoff in Ireland help you?
RYAN FOX: Not really, but thankfully I didn't have anyone hole any 40‑footers on me. Look, I knew ‑‑ I always think it's almost easier trying to win a golf tournament than it is trying to make a cut even. If you're up near the top, you're generally in pretty decent control of your game, and I felt like it was pretty close all week.
In Ireland, I did everything right, just had someone do something incredible on me. I knew if I was in that situation again, I would feel as comfortable as I could and I definitely felt comfortable out there most of the day. As I said, maybe a little bit rushed through the middle there, but got away with it.
I guess the format's quite nice in a way that, especially when conditions got tough, you're only trying to beat one guy. You're not trying to beat a bunch of guys who have been out early and shot low scores, not trying to beat a tough golf course, you're just trying to beat your opponent and I quite like that idea about the tournament.
Q. And when Jazz (inaudible.)
RYAN FOX: Yeah, I thought I was well gone. I actually didn't feel like I hit that bad a shot there. The breeze swirls a little bit around here and maybe it just picked a little down, and I hit it exactly where I wanted to, maybe just three or four yards too long and obviously landed on that downslope. I hit a terrible chip and a terrible putt. I thought, I'm done here.
Yeah, look, you never wish your opponent anything bad, but as I said, you need some luck and I managed to be on the receiving end of some there.
Q. And in that match play format, you're the fastest player probably in the field. Do you think that helps you when you're playing guys like Paul, who's deliberate in how he goes about it?
RYAN FOX: I think so. I mean, I always thought I might have had an advantage of the two playing with Paul and Adrian as I make my decisions pretty quick and just get on with things. You know, match play, there's a little bit of psychology going on there. Maybe not so much with Paul, he's one of my good mates. I would never try to, you know, do anything untoward there, but I think if you push guys a little bit, they can get out of their comfort zone. Looked like Adrian might have got that way in the final and Paul just lost his rhythm with his putter. It's normally an excellent weapon for him and he missed a couple. Again, I was very lucky to be on the receiving end of those.
Q. Ryan, the Aussie Amateur here, you played in match play and you lost the first round. Have you played any match play as a professional?
RYAN FOX: I think I played, I had like a Dongting Cup or something for the OneAsia Tour, which I played ‑‑ which is more an exhibition we played up in China and I have no memory of how we went, to be honest.
I remember playing with Mark Brown in the ‑‑ we played foursomes and four‑ball and I think a singles match. I'm pretty sure I won the singles match, but I can't remember anything else. This would pretty much be my debut in match play as a professional, so been a pretty good one so far.
Q. And did you ever think it or kind of consider options as today's match sort of played out and kind of adjust your game plan?
RYAN FOX: Not really. I mean, I think this golf course is very prescriptive on how you play it other than maybe the 10th hole, where if you could carry that bunker, it was worth having a crack to get it close to the front of the green. The rest of it pretty much told you what shot, where to hit it off the tee.
You know, I guess the big thing was making sure if your opponent made a mistake, you didn't make it. I did it well in the final when Adrian hit a couple of bad shots, I put the pressure on making sure I was on the green in regulation. That's about the only thing you do in this.
It was pretty tough out there. The breeze was up. You've still got to try to beat the golf course a little bit. Just make sure if your opponent makes a mistake, you don't follow him and do that, and I felt like I did that pretty well the whole week.
Q. Do you think this could be the last piece of the puzzle for you? Do you feel this is the last piece of the game, that extra belief that comes from winning?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, I mean, I probably need a few days to think about it, I guess. It felt like it's been really close, I guess it's almost a relief now that it's happened. Nice to have it happen the way it did. I'm sure it might be different coming down the stretch in a stroke play tournament trying to win. I think match play gives you a little bit more freedom. A bad hole only costs you a hole rather than it could cost you two or three shots and put you out of the tournament. It certainly will free things up for the rest of the year. Can go on feeling confident that if I play well, I can compete with anyone in the world and I think that's a pretty dangerous place to be.
Q. What about going home to the New Zealand Open as a European Tour winner? Will that be an extra special week now?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, it will be. I've got Steve Williams on the bag that week as well. I'm sure it probably adds a little bit of pressure onto next week, or a couple weeks. I always love going down to Queenstown, that's one of my favourite places in the world. Yeah, I'll be giving it my best and would love to get my name on another trophy. If not, it would be nice to have another Kiwi win the 100th New Zealand Open.
Q. There's no guarantees this tournament will go ahead next year. What did you make of the tournament and also the format?
RYAN FOX: I love coming to Perth, I love this golf course. I've played here a lot and it's hands down one of my favourite golf courses in the world.
I think they've got it right. There's a couple little tweaks you could potentially make in the match play, but it's something completely different. Golf's got 600‑something stroke play events a year, that's good having a difference.
You look at even last week with the ladies. Even though it was a stroke play tournament, it's still a pointed difference and there was a lot of interest in the regular tournament because of that. I think there's a lot of interest in this tournament because of the format. It's great for the crowds, it's great for us. You know, it's short shot matches, it should be quite exciting.
I really hope the tournament carries on. I'd be saying that even if I wasn't sitting here with you guys. I think it's a great concept. Golf doesn't need 100 events like this a year, but it's certainly nice to have a point of difference and a format that we all enjoy playing.
Q. In terms of this win, obviously (inaudible)?
RYAN FOX: I think just for us, I think maybe with the playoff hole early, the early matches tend to, if there's a few that go to that playoff, guys are waiting for 25 minutes to play, to tee off on 18 in their first couple matches. That, I guess, puts pressure on the rest of the matches going forward.
Might be a tweak going forward and that playoff hole might only happen for the quarters, semis, and finals when there's less groups out there, less chance of a backlog.
But that's not up to me, it's up to the guys that know a lot more than me about setting up golf tournaments. We really enjoy it. Everyone enjoys the format. I think the playoff on Saturday's a great idea, it keeps everyone entertained on Saturday afternoon. I was on the receiving end of missing out of that playoff a couple years ago and it hurt a lot and you don't get that too much on a Saturday normally. It's a fantastic format. As I said, I hope it goes forward.
Q. Do you think Perth deserves a world-class golf tournament?
RYAN FOX: I think it does. As I was talking to Paul, he's one of my good mates, he's never been down here and he thinks this golf course is fantastic. I know a lot of people share that opinion. You'll generally get some decent weather here. The (inaudible) in and it can make golf pretty tough. The crowds are fantastic. I think Perth does deserve world‑class golf and I've enjoyed coming here for the last eight years, is it, from the start of the international one. Hopefully we get a chance to come back many more times.
Q. Was there any goal, sort of reset from here (inaudible)?
RYAN FOX: To be honest, I have no idea, but I guess probably going to help the world ranking, probably going to get closer to top‑50 and that's where we all strive to be. You get in the majors, the WGC. I guess that's ‑‑ that was the goal at the start of the year and the goal should be a fair bit closer now.
I don't know what the goals will be going forward. I've got the New Zealand Open and then I've got a few weeks off around it. I am getting married, so I might not have chance to think things over too much that week. I'm sure in the next few weeks I'll get a chance to sit down and sort of just rethink everything and setting goals for the rest of the year.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN FOX: Yep. I'm flying home tonight. I was planning on going fishing tomorrow, so that's going to have to wait until Tuesday, but that's not a problem.
Yeah, I'll certainly be having a glass of red tonight and I look forward to celebrating with friends and family when I get home. I've also got a stag day coming up, which might just get a little bit looser after what just happened because I might not see the boys before then. Yeah, there will be some celebrations going on in the next few weeks and I thankfully don't have a whole lot of golf to play other than the New Zealand Open.
OLIVIA McMILLAN: Congratulations once again, Ryan.
RYAN FOX: Thanks, Liv. Thanks, guys.
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