Our Old Collegian of the Month for February is Ryan Fox (Peart 2003/04). Ryan is a professional golfer who plays on the DP World Tour (previously known as the European Tour) and the PGA Tour of Australasia. Ryan has represented New Zealand in Golf at two Olympics and has recently won the Ras Al Khaimah Classic tournament in the UAE with a score of 22 under par for four rounds and five shots ahead of his closest fellow competitor. In our interview we hear about his memories of his time at King’s as well as life as a professional golfer on tour.
Sport was always a major thing for me growing up, for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a sportsman. It took me a while to figure out what sport, as rugby and cricket were my two main sports at school and golf was a distance 3rd. When I left school, I started a Law degree so there was a bit of pull towards that but thankfully I never gave up on the idea of professional sport.
- When you were at King’s College, what did you want to do for a career after you graduated?
It’s hard to select just one but most of my best memories revolve around sport. Representing KC in 1st XV rugby and 1st XI cricket was an honour, but my favourite memories come from the inter house sports and getting to play against your mates in some bitter house rivalries - great fun!
- What is your best memory of your time at King’s College?
I have always had great memories of our Peart house master Mr McPherson. He was always up for a bit of fun, and probably let us get away with much more than we should have, but we had a great atmosphere within the house at the time. I also have good memories of Jim Dicken who was our 1st XV coach and my PE teacher as well, which was always my favourite class.
- Which staff member do you remember most favourably from King's College and why?
Not much I can think of there. I really enjoyed my time at school and wouldn’t really change anything.
- What advice would you give to your school age self?
I have been a professional golfer now for over a decade. Starting off in Australia and Asia and now in my 7th season on the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) I’m very lucky in the fact that I get to do what I love for a living as well as being able to travel the world with my wife, and now our daughter.
- Tell us about yourself now and what you do for a career?
It’s not too complicated really, just travel around and play tournament golf, generally between 25-30 weeks a year. It’s mainly in Europe but I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world over the last 10 years and play in some fantastic (and sometimes not fantastic) places.
- What does/did your job involve?
The highlights for me are too many to name but one that stands out it is seeing the ‘Big 5’ African game animals (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino) at a Pilanesberg Game Park in South Africa while playing a tournament next door in Sun City. What makes it more special is that we were driving ourselves in a rented car. Golf has taken me to a few places that I never thought I would travel to, including Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Oman and Morocco, all have been very enjoyable experiences, just unexpected places to play golf tournaments due to the naturally dry terrain.
Obviously top-level sport can be very challenging, we are 100% performance based in golf and because of that there is never any real job security. It is definitely a high stress/ high reward job. The other part which is challenging and not as glamorous as it’s made out to be is the travel. A normal year consists of somewhere between 50-80 flights and playing in 20 odd countries which certainly takes its toll on mind and body during the year.
- What are the most challenging parts of your job?
While I have won a few times around the world now and a couple of big events, my biggest achievement in golf is qualifying for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. While I didn’t play well at the Olympics it was a huge honour to represent NZ on that stage and be a part of the NZ team as we don’t get that very often in golf. It also made me the 3rd generation of my family to represent NZ, with my dad being an All Black, and my mum’s dad, Merv Wallace playing for the Blackcaps.
- What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
This is going to sound pretty childish, but if someone could invent faster air travel or some form of teleportation that would make my life a lot easier and free up a lot of time – that would be great. Although currently I would settle for getting rid of MIQ and making it easier to travel back home to NZ.
- What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
Provided we had all the essentials I think I would take a fishing rod, a guitar, and a surfboard.
- What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
A good dad, a good friend, and a pretty decent golfer.
- How would you like to be remembered?
If you know someone from our KCOCA community that you think would make a great OC of the Month then please get in touch at: KCOCA@kingscollege.school.nz