The two-time Tour winner is in the form of his life, bridging a three-year gap between titles as he cruised to a five-stroke victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February, and he has since registered a further six top-tens including three runner-up finishes.
Those results have seen Fox rise from outside the top 200 on the Official World Golf Ranking to inside the top 50, with this week’s event at Fairmont St Andrews also providing an opportunity to move even higher than his current fifth place in the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex.
“I think I played 11 out of 13 weeks up to The Open, so I definitely needed a break (last week) both physically and mentally,” he said.
“The body is pretty good. I spent a bit of time last week moving house and building flat pack furniture, which is not a lot of fun and not great for the back at times but had some physio at the back end of last week and everything feels good.
“I was a bit disappointed at The Open to miss the cut. Felt like I played alright, it was just the opposite of how I felt like I played this year when I’ve scored really well even when I haven’t felt like the game has been there. The Open was the opposite, tee to green I felt like I hit it really well, just couldn’t get a score together, but that’s golf.
“Irish Open, I gave it a good run, Germany I did as well. Not quite there in Scotland and at The Open. A bit of a shame at those two events, but I can’t complain at how my year has gone so far.”
I think I played 11 out of 13 weeks up to The Open, so I definitely needed a break (last week) both physically and mentally.
The New Zealander also credits no longer needing to navigate travel concerns brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic as enabling him to play with greater freedom.
“Over the last couple of years with Covid, I’ve played in bunches and then not played for quite a while,” he reflected. “I sort of did the same this year, we were still affected at home, I did a bit of quarantine and took eight weeks off when I was at home after RAK. That was because I couldn’t get back in the country if I left again.
“Lots of little things (have gone well). I’m really happy with everyone in my team, made a couple of additions over the past year or so and they have made a massive difference. Everyone back home has been working towards the same goal for a while and everything has kind of clicked.
“All of the travel, although it has changed a bit this year with the demand coming back, all of that stuff with quarantine has gone, so a bit less to worry about on that side of things. That was probably a big stress for me over the last couple of years, not knowing when I would see family again or when I could get back home.
“With that gone it makes it a bit easier to be happy on and off the golf course. I’ve been really enjoying it out on Tour and enjoying the travel again. That’s always been a big thing for me, if I can enjoy it, I generally play a bit better.”
Fox finished in a tie for 34th in last year’s edition of the Hero Open on the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews as Grant Forrest won on home soil with a final score of 24 under par.
“This is a golf course that everyone has gone pretty low on the last couple of years. Looks like it will be much the same this year.
“The wind forecast is down, and the golf course is a bit softer than I expected, I heard there was a bit of rain Sunday, Monday softened the golf course up. The Open a couple of weeks ago was like a road it was that firm in places.
“I think it will be another low scoring week and you’ve got to take the golf course on. The greens are fantastic, I think there will be a lot of putts holed this week. There are a couple of really tough holes, ten and a couple of others, but if you can navigate them there are a lot of birdie chances as well.”