UTC golfer Steven Fox gets museum treatment

UTC golfer Steven Fox gets museum treatment

August 21st, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

Steven Fox reacts to winning the 37th hole of the U.S. Amateur golf tournament at Cherry Hills to beat Michael Weaver, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012, in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Steven Fox watched the Monday practice round of the 2010 Masters after the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga played in the Augusta State Invitational.

People will be watching Fox during the Monday practice round of the next Masters.

Fox, a UTC senior, won the U.S. Amateur Championship on Sunday on the 37th hole of competition at famed Cherry Hills Country Club outside of Denver.

The perks are grand.

He will play in the 2013 Masters and will be paired with defending champion Bubba Watson for the first two rounds. Also, Fox can play practice rounds as often as his schedule allows at Augusta National Golf Club.

He will play in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, where past USGA champions include Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino. He will play in the British Open at nostalgic Muirfield where Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Ernie Els won championships.

"I barely snuck in [to the U.S. Am], and I never thought this day would come," Fox said Monday night while driving from his home in Hendersonville to UTC. "It's not settled in."

Before driving down Magnolia Lane next April, Fox will be immortalized at Cherry Hills Country Club and in Nashville at Golf House Tennessee.

Cherry Hills has a club of champions museum that includes the likes of Nicklaus, Palmer and Phil Mickelson. Fox will be enshrined there along with the legends of the game.

Fox donated a 4-iron with which he hit the classic shot of the tournament in the semifinal round, and his 60-degree wedge -- a key club for him all week as he scrambled his way to victory. The display case will include newspaper clippings, an official program and pictures from the historic event.

"That display will be here for as long as the club is around," Cherry Hills head pro John Ogden said. "We talked about getting his putter, but his putter company is now out of business so we didn't feel comfortable having that donated.

"We're proud to have him win the national championship at Cherry Hills."

Fox will be enshrined back home as well. UTC is considering several plans to put memorabilia of the historic victory on view for the public. The Tennessee Golf Association is planning a display in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame for him.

He is the 15th Tennessee golfer to win a USGA tournament. Those have won 22 such titles, ranging from Cary Middlecoff winning the 1949 and 1956 U.S. Opens to Brandt Snedeker winning the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links and now Fox.

"We're as proud as we can be of Steven," said Dick Horton, president of the Tennessee Golf Foundation. "It will be important for us to have his accomplishment recognized in our museum, especially in the modern era where all the young juniors who come through here can see his success."

Horton will do his best to see that Fox can have some success at the Masters. Once the invitation from Augusta National arrives, Fox can play practice rounds almost as often as he wants to play. Horton said the TGA will try to put Fox together with other TGA stars -- Scott Stallings, Snedeker and Loren Roberts -- for a round at Augusta.

"We'll do our best to get him with somebody who knows their way around Augusta," Horton said. "For a fun time. We've already planted that seed, but we have to work within NCAA rules."

Luke List, the 2004 U.S. Amateur runner-up who grew up in the Chattanooga area, watched Fox -- on tape delay after playing in a Web.com Tour event win the final two holes of regulation and the one playoff hole on a GolfChannel replay. List earned unlimited playing privileges that winter Augusta National with his runner-up finish to Ryan Moore.

"If I were him, I'd go as often as possible," said List, who shot 77-69 in his first two rounds of the 2005 Masters. "Being on the grounds helps your chances. Once you soak it in, you're ahead of the game."

Fox is ahead of all other amateurs right now.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.