'Pneumonia Was A Benefit In A Way' - Ryan Fox Details Crazy PGA Championship Prep
To say Ryan Fox's PGA Championship preparation was less than ideal would be a massive understatement. The Kiwi last featured at the RBC Heritage, where he withdrew after just nine holes through illness before learning he had caught pneumonia that he still hasn't fully recovered from.
Amongst all that, his wife gave birth to their second child and his home city of Auckland in New Zealand flooded. Was it not a Major week, Fox admitted he probably would have just stayed at home, but hinted the enforced time off might have been a blessing in disguise following an opening two-under 68 at Oak Hill.
"It's been an interesting, probably last month," Fox said. "At the Masters, I was pretty sick on the weekend. Tried to play Hilton Head, withdrew from there after nine holes, just feeling awful. Got home and got told I caught pneumonia, which pretty much explained why I felt so bad.
"I had a couple of weeks off just being Dad and trying to recover from that. That took a fair while on antibiotics to get over that. Basically as soon as I got over that, our daughter was born, which was just over two weeks ago now. Our second daughter was born, Margot.
"So I had a few sleepless nights and not a lot of practice. One of the days I was supposed to go to practice, Auckland flooded for the third time this year. So I think I drove around Auckland, 27 kilometres in four hours in chaos.
"It wasn't quite the ideal preparation for a major, but I was kind of hoping the fact I needed a break after a busy start to the year and being mentally fresh would have been important this week."
So far so good in that regard. Fox, playing in his fifth PGA Championship, got off to a great start with birdies at the second and fourth, despite missing the memo about the early frost delay, meaning he arrived at the venue more than three hours before his revised tee time.
He then found himself atop the leaderboard after a birdie at the 14th got him to three-under but gave the shot back on 17 when he missed a four-footer for par. Still, he's very handily placed two behind early leader Bryson DeChambeau, despite admitted he's still not firing on all cylinders.
"To be honest I still don't feel like I've got it back completely," Fox added. "My speed is down a little bit on what it normally is. Probably took two weeks at home just to get any energy back. I would go and do something with my daughter and then feel like I could sit on the couch all afternoon, which I guess is not a bad thing anyway.
"Obviously, I was going to travel to a Major. If there had been another event, I might have spent another week at home with the family. But it was just coming and going. The golf game was pretty good a month ago, so it can't have disappeared that far, and as I said, I needed a break.
"I think I had been away for 11 of 13 weeks at the start of the year. Yeah, almost pneumonia was a benefit in a way that I just got home and knew I could do nothing and just relax.
"Yeah, coming in this week fresh has been pretty good so far."