New Zealand’s Ryan Fox was among three professionals who took part in Jack Nicklaus’ annual clinic for patrons of the Memorial Tournament Honoree Ceremony.
Following the event, which also featured Joost Luiten and Joaquin Niemann, Fox shared his thoughts on the unique experience with the 18-time major champion winner.
Q. That was a pretty unique experience for you, doing Jack's clinic, first year that you're here. What was that experience like for you?
RYAN FOX: It was awesome actually. It was nerve wracking, really, having to hit balls around the best player that's ever lived. That wind isn't a whole lot of fun but I had a couple of good shots and had a bit of fun out there, had a couple of jokes. And obviously he's a wonderful man. And it was nice to get an invite this week and to be able to do that is something special, for sure.
Q. You and Jack had a pretty good discussion about New Zealand and your dad. He actually had done his homework, hadn’t he?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, he had, which was pretty cool. I'm not sure he wanted to know much about rugby, but it was pretty cool for him to acknowledge that (Ryan’s dad, Grant, was one of New Zealand’s best rugby players). And he had played my golf course at home (Royal Auckland GC), and it was pretty cool to see that he remembered that, as well. And actually his company is in the process of redesigning it, as well, which is a bit of a link there, which is nice. I'm still buzzing, to be honest.
Q. It's funny, you gave Jack as much as he gave you, as well, as far as giving him the little shtick about some of the things you were doing, and then the birth of your dad the same year that he played with Bob Charles in New Zealand, which was kind of a nice little exchange?
RYAN FOX: Yeah, I think that's what happens when you're nervous, you say a couple of silly things. I certainly didn't want to offend him in any means. I heard a couple of laughs in the back, and he didn't seem too fussed by it. It was good. Had a little bit of bang, so that's what we like back home.
Q. It sounded like you earned his respect, which is always a good thing to earn the respect of one of the greatest players in the world. You've had a look at the course (Muirfield Village) now here and what do you anticipate going forward the rest of the week?
RYAN FOX: Really depends on the conditions, I think. It's a fantastic golf course. If it's blowing it's a really tough test of golf. It's a tough test of golf, anyway. But breeze will swirl around those trees, there's so many hard tee shots out there and with this much wind. I think after the rain, if we do get some calm conditions there's going to be some good scores. Obviously it's a great field here this week. But it's a fantastic golf course to play. And I'm looking forward to getting out there and giving it a crack.
Q. Anything that jumps out that reminds you of New Zealand while you're here?
RYAN FOX: It actually feels a lot like home with the tree-lined fairways and it's a much bigger golf course than what we get at home. The facilities are much better. Generally a lot of our golf courses are very old and a lot of them are really landlocked. But it's got that feel of the nice big trees. A little bit of elevation change. Some small, quite slopey greens. And we get a bit of that at home. But nothing to the standard of what this is. But we also don't get the rough that you get around here. That's going to be a bit of a test this week. And it's going to put a bit of emphasis on driving it straight and missing greens in all the right places, as well.
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