Dreams are coming true for Steven Fox.
Fox, a 22-year-old senior attending the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, won the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship in August, rallying from two down with two to play and winning in extra holes. He described that week as a dream.
The win earned him an invitation to the Masters Tournament, taking his dreams to a whole new level.
“Previously, I would sit on the couch from morning till night watching the Masters, always having that dream of playing and just looking at how perfect the golf course is year in and year out,” Fox said.
He was able to play Augusta National Golf Club about a dozen times leading up to this week, but after arriving Friday and playing a practice round, it really got interesting for him the next day.
“On Saturday, I got to play with Phil (Mickelson), Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner which is awesome, a great experience for me since I’ll be playing with Bubba (Watson) and Ian Poulter on Thursday, I just found out,” Fox said. “So getting to play with them was a pretty cool deal. I want every day to go as slow as possible. I don’t want to leave this place, but eventually, hopefully on Sunday, I’ll be leaving.”
He took the opportunity while practicing with Phil Mickelson to pick the left-hander’s brain.
“He would show me the putts that nobody knows about really but Phil,” Fox said. “His little black book that he has, it’s really phenomenal what he has in there of all the years he’s played.”
Fox played in two PGA Tour events before this week – the Farmers Insurance Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational – and missed the cut both times, but he feels he is stronger for having played in them.
“If I didn’t have those and this was my first event, I would be shaking a little more,” Fox said.
Fox said he hasn’t had nerves since his Saturday practice round and is looking forward to the experience when he plays his first tournament round.
“I guess the galleries will be different with Tiger (Woods) playing behind me on Thursday and playing with Bubba and Ian,” he said, “but it’s a fun day and I enjoy playing when there’s crowds.”