Former Chattanooga golfer Steven Fox has made the jump to the next level.
Fox, by way of his new management team, Meister Sports Management, announced on Friday that he is turning professional. He plans on playing the Web.com qualifying school in the hopes of getting into the pipeline for an eventual move to the PGA Tour.
Though it was inevitable that Fox would eventually try his hand at professional golf, his decision was accelerated by an unprecedented 12 months that began by winning the 2012 U.S. Amateur at historic Cherry Hills near Denver. That victory came with perks the likes of which Fox could only have dreamed of previously, including invitations to three of the four major championships—the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open—and six regular-season PGA Tour events, along with numerous amateur tournaments for both teams and individuals.
Fox didn’t make a cut in the nine pro tournaments he played—though he came frustratingly close at the U.S. Open at Merion, missing by just two shots—but he learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
“The biggest thing I learned on Tour is that you can’t make big numbers, and you can’t give shots away,” Fox said. “Someone said I got to make my rookie mistakes before I was a rookie. That was a neat way to put it. I’ve learned a lot from this year. If I can take from that and get some guidance going into next year, next year could be very interesting.”
Fox was able to play, in both practice rounds and tournaments, with several major champions. He won a friendly game at the Masters with Phil Mickelson as his partner. “Mickelson’s an awesome guy,” Fox said. “So generous and happy all the time. He’s fun to be around and a good role model.”
Fox’s game earned favorable reviews from many of his professional playing partners, including Ernie Els at the U.S. Open.
“I’d hit a few flop shots,” Fox said. “Ernie came over to me and said, ‘well, you don’t need to work on that part of your game.’ When you get that from Ernie, that’s pretty cool.”
Fox still has work to finish his business management degree at UTC, which will be ongoing, unless something good happens at the Web.com qualifying tournament.
Fox put a nice cap on his amateur career last month, when he won the Tennessee Amateur at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, a course he had played and practiced on for the previous four years. He’s the only player in Tennessee history to hold both the U.S. Amateur and Tennessee Amateur titles at the same time.
Fox failed to make match play the next week in his U.S. Amateur defense, but that didn’t put a damper on his previous year of golf.
“It was a wild ride,” Fox said.
And now, it’s on to golf as a livelihood.
“I’m extremely excited to begin my career as a professional,” Fox said in Meister Sports Management press release. “I’ve been preparing for this moment my entire life. I’ve learned many things over the last year and will treasure it always, but I’m ready to embark on something new and create even bigger headlines.”
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.