Steven Fox has spent the last four weeks living the life of a PGA Tour player.
While playing in the last three Tour events, the recent University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer has enjoyed such benefits as excellent hospitality at each stop and sharing facilities with the greatest in the game.
Fox also has endured the tests of being on tour, including long flights, disconnection from loved ones and the lack of a familiar route.
"I'm getting to see what life on tour is like," Fox said. "I don't come back home for another three weeks.
Being the reigning U.S. Amateur champion has opened doors of which he couldn't even touch the knob before. Among others, winning the USGA championship last August at Cherry Hills Golf Club in Colorado got him in the Masters this past April, the U.S. Open beginning Thursday and the British Open in July.
"If I could choose a week to make the cut, this would be the one," Fox said. "I'm hitting the ball well. I need to learn how to score well and when to be aggressive. My confidence is there."
The spotlight this week will shine on Fox more than any week since the Masters because he won the most competitive amateur event in the world.
His Cherry Hills victory placed Fox in the traditional favored group for the first two rounds at Merion in Ardmore, Pa. He will play with defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and defending British Open champion Ernie Els.
Being part of a popular grouping is nothing new for Fox. He played alongside defending Masters champion Bubba Watson and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter for the first two rounds at the Masters.
"Playing with Ernie and Webb will be a fun time," Fox said. "I'll be focusing on trying to score and put myself in position to make birdies. I need more 12-foot birdie putts than 30-foot birdie putts."
Off the course, Fox will continue building business relationships that will help him when he turns pro. He will meet with a handful of agents and perhaps trim the list of candidates.
"The plan is still to turn pro in late September," said Fox, who plans on defending his championship at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
He's living like a professional and spent the better part of four weeks away from home. He returned to Hendersonville, Tenn., after missing the cut last Friday at the St. Jude Classic. He flew out of the Nashville airport to Philadelphia on Sunday.
"I don't come back home for another three weeks," Fox said. "I'm learning a bunch. Just managing your time is what you have to do."
He will be with his family and a few close family friends in private housing this week.
"We never get used to this, because this truly is a fantasy," said Fox's father, Alan. "I don't care if it's five years from now, I still want to be amazed. And for Steven to live it, that's great.
"I don't believe Steven will take this for granted, however long this lasts."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-57-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...