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Fox’s strategic approach in lead-up to Olympics



Fox’s strategic approach in lead-up to Olympics

“One was to get ready for the big events – Scotland and The Open – and to help with the jetlag in that sense,” Fox told the Herald.

“I’ve enjoyed going to Germany as well. I like the golf course, it’s an event I’ve played well at before so there was an element of that, as well as just trying to get my four DP World events out of the way before the end of the season so I can pick and choose my schedule at the end of the year.”

The relationship between the PGA Tour and DP World Tour allows athletes to qualify for the former through their performances on the latter, as Fox did last season. In that scenario, while a golfer will generally prioritise a run on the US-based PGA Tour, they must play four events to hold their card on the DP World Tour for the following season as well.

Fox began his year with two DP World Tour events in Dubai, while last week in Germany and this week in Scotland fill his quota. Fellow Olympic golfer Daniel Hillier will also be among the field for the Scottish Open and The Open over the coming weeks.

A return to Europe early also worked well for his Olympic preparations, as Fox readies for his third appearance at the games.

“It’s good to be back. The familiarity of golf courses and everything is certainly helpful, and it’s going to be the same this week in Scotland – maybe not so much for The Open next week; I haven’t played Royal Troon before – but the same goes for the Olympics in a few weeks.

“It’s nice coming back to some golf courses which I know and have played decent around.”

Fox will be one of three golfers representing New Zealand at the Olympic Games. In addition to fellow DP World Tour athlete Hillier in the men’s field, Lydia Ko will tee off in the women’s competition.

Momoka Kobori did meet the criteria for Olympic qualification on the golf world rankings at No 55 in the 60-strong field. However, she was not selected to compete by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

The NZOC has its own selection criteria. The selectors must be satisfied the athlete is capable of a top-16 finish, with the potential to win an Olympic diploma (certificate awarded to top eight finishers), as well as having a track record of sufficient quality and depth to back that prospect up.

In determining that, selectors look at golfers’ results on the PGA/LPGA Tour, DP World Tour and Ladies’ European Tour, and events co-sanctioned with these tours.

While Fox admitted he didn’t know the extent of the NZOC’s selection criteria, he suggested golf be provided a bit more leeway in future and expected 25-year-old Kobori to be a strong prospect for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“Golf is a funny game and maybe the qualifying criteria could be a little less strict than some of the other sports,” Fox suggested.

“There’s been people win majors both on the men’s and women’s side from well outside the top 100 in the world. Guys like Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton come to mind on the men’s side, Sophia Popov won the women’s British Open from well outside the top 100 in the world in arguably a stronger field than what the Olympics has.

“In that sense, I think if you’re good enough to qualify you’ve probably got a chance to win, but I also don’t know what the NZOC qualifying criteria are for golf. I feel for Momoka, but she’s a great player and I’m sure she’ll get her chance in the future.”

Kiwi golfers’ Genesis Scottish Open round one and two tee times

Ryan Fox: Friday 12.32am and 7.17pm – playing alongside Justin Thomas (USA) and Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark)

Daniel Hillier: Thursday 11.37pm and Friday 6.22pm – playing alongside Matthew Southgate (England) and Luke List (USA)

Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.

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