In this week’s Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ryan Fox reflects on his first year as a father and how he has dealt with uncertainty as he prepares to play his final event of the season.
Ryan Fox, statements
"This year has really involved a lot of uncertainty for me, so it’s a nice way to finish my season this week knowing that I’ve got my card for next year and that my family and I can go home to New Zealand for Christmas.
There’s a very slim chance our government might change the rules at the end of this week as they’ve got some kind of announcement, and if they do then maybe I can stay a bit longer, but at this stage I’m about 99 per cent sure I’ll be finishing up my season in Mallorca.
We found out that we had an MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) spot to go home a few weeks ago at the Dunhill, and it’s amazing how that has really freed me up a bit on the golf course. This year I think my golf has been affected by so much that’s happened off the golf course, and that was just such a big thing not just on my mind but on my wife’s mind to be able to get home.
Originally we found a spot to fly home after Wentworth, but I wasn’t completely sure if I had enough points to keep my card for next year, so we decided to take the gamble in the hope that something would change and we’d get a spot later on.
It was around the Dutch Open I had enough points and I’m glad we made the decision because I think at this stage I’d be sitting at home pretty nervous and wondering if I should come back, but the only downside was that trying to get home became harder.
"It’s still so difficult at the moment for New Zealanders to get back, and it was only about six weeks ago they changed how you are able to book a flight home. There is still a 14-day hotel quarantine, but it was originally first come first served and you just had to be early enough to get a spot – or be online when there was a cancellation.
But they decided to change it to a lottery system where they release all the rooms for a certain period of time – up to three months – on a certain day at a specific time and you’ve got to enter your passport number in a system an hour before the rooms are released.
From there you get randomised and it’s basically a lottery to see if you’re high enough up to get a spot. They release around 2,500 – 3,500 rooms in each lottery, and in four attempts the best number we had on three passports was 5500, with the others over 10,000.
I think there were 30,000 New Zealanders each time we were trying to get a spot – and there’s no exemption policies in place for athletes so it’s very much a lottery where probably about 1 in ten people are getting a spot, so it’s been pretty tough.
When we finally managed to get a spot the week of the Dunhill, which was such a weight off our shoulders, and we took the only spot we could get, which was October 27. It allowed us to play these weeks in Spain, and after this we’ll rush back to London and fly out on Monday night to arrive back home on Wednesday, which is the 27th.
We’ve continued to try to get a spot for the end of the season with no luck, so unless the announcement changes things on Friday, that’s when we’ll leave"