CONTENTS

Ross Fisher

LOOKING TO END THE DROUGHT

Ross Fisher has been biding his time, patiently waiting to put an end to a six-year winless drought on the European Tour – and he believes that time will come after posting six runners-up finishes since his last victory at the Tschwane Open in 2014.

“That talented Tyrell Hatton – if it were not for him, I’d have three big ones,” laughs Fisher, referencing the three runners-up finishes he’s had behind his fellow Englishman, two at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2016-17 and one at the 2017 Italian Open, a Rolex Series event.

“It’s just one of those things. You put yourself in a position to win on the back nine on Sunday and just do your best. If you do your best and someone else plays better – hats off to them. I’d say I’ve had my chances and unfortunately things haven’t quite gone my way, but I’m confident that they will.”

Since joining the Tour in 2006 Fisher has collected five titles, including the Irish Open and the Volvo World Match Play Championship. He also qualified for The Ryder Cup ten years ago at Celtic Manor under Colin Montgomerie’s Captaincy.

“The Ryder Cup was possibly the pinnacle of my career,” he says. “It’s something you dream about and watch over the years, wanting to be part of it. To qualify and just to be there was amazing. I’d had some experience of team golf playing a few editions of the Seve Trophy, but The Ryder Cup is at a different level. It was a long, hard week with lots of distractions with media obligations, photos and dinners – so it was hard to keep focused.”

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Fisher was handed a baptism of fire in the first session by Montgomerie, going out as partner to Ian Poulter in a fourball match against the formidable US pairing of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. The English duo came up short, losing 2-down, but a switch in partners saw Fisher come into his own as he reeled off two points alongside Padraig Harrington in the foursomes and fourballs.

“Forming a great partnership with Padraig was massive for me. He was someone who I’d played a lot with and admired. I looked up to Padraig over my first few years on Tour. To be partnered with him was great, knowing I had a three-time Major champion by my side, supporting me. We gelled so well together and we couldn’t lose.” Fisher was something
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“Forming a great partnership with Padraig was massive for me,” he says. “He was someone who I’d played a lot with and admired. I looked up to Padraig over my first few years on Tour. To be partnered with him was great, knowing I had a three-time Major champion by my side, supporting me. We gelled so well together and we couldn’t lose.”

Fisher was something of a late developer in golf. After a sporty upbringing he finally knew golf was for him when he got a scholarship into Wentworth Club, the home of the European Tour.

“I was 13 in July 1994 when I received the scholarship and I struck up a keen friendship with my playing partner in my first junior tournament, Chris Harmston. We used to play and practice together a lot and I had that passion to challenge myself and get better.

“I remember one Summer, I took a break for a few months because I had played so much golf I stopped enjoying. But the bug bit me again and I was straight back in action.

“I think I was the first scholar to get down to scratch and then onto a plus handicap. By then, I was allowed to play big amateur tournaments and after performing well my handicap tumbled and eventually got to +4.5.

“As a youngster, I modelled my swing on Ernie Els. I admired his physique and his classic swing and loved his rhythm and tempo. I remember watching his video on how to build a classic swing. Then in 1997 when the ‘Tiger Effect’ came to the fore so I tried to take something from both Tiger and Ernie and put it together. I also watched Seve Ballesteros’s short game video over and over, which was awesome to watch and I gained so many tips from his video.”
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“As a youngster, I modelled my swing on Ernie Els. I admired his physique and his classic swing and loved his rhythm and tempo. I remember watching his video on how to build a classic swing. Then in 1997 when the ‘Tiger Effect’ came to the fore so I tried to take something from both Tiger and Ernie and put it together. I also watched Seve Ballesteros’s short game video over and over, which was awesome to watch and I gained so many tips from his video.”

Watching videos at home wasn’t the only experience Fisher had of learning from the professionals. He could be found working in various minor roles at Wentworth Club when it hosted the World Match Play Championship.

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“I did some part-time work on the driving range for about 5-6 years running at the World Match Play,” he says. “They were early starts and long days but as a youngster the money was great – and I managed to get one hell of a shag bag throughout the tournament!

“I remember getting a signed ball from ‘Higgy,’ Sergio Garcia’s old caddy and staying late one night to watch Vijay Singh grind it out until it was dark. They are great memories. These were my heroes I was watching, trying to pick out something to take into my game or my swing – guys who I aspired to be like and play with one day.”

Fisher turned professional in 2004 and his aspirations became a reality when he progressed through the Challenge Tour in 2005 to earn his spot on the European Tour and compete with the game’s leading players. He has enjoyed a superbly consistent career, finishing outside the top 50 in the Race to Dubai rankings only three times in 14 full seasons.

A consistent ball-striker, Fisher made a solid start to this season with sixth place finishes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, before the halt in proceedings to manage the coronavirus outbreak.

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He’s used his time well to spend more time with his family and work on his fitness, as well as his golf game.

“Before we were allowed to play and practice, I focused a lot on getting fitter and stronger, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of gym stuff at home in between home schooling the kids,” said the 39-year-old.

“It’s been great to spend so much time with my wife, Jo, and the kids because Tour golfers never get this length of time off – ever – so I’ve tried to embrace it and enjoy family time.”

That being said, it’s time for Fisher to get back to work and he’s relishing getting his teeth into some competitive action on the European Tour, starting with this week’s Betfred British Masters.

“I’m really looking forward to the UK Swing,” he said. “It will feel a bit like being an amateur again, packing the car up and being on the road from event to event. It’s nice not having to fly just yet – but just being able to drive to the tournament is cool.”