Ryan Fox has won the 2022 Seve Ballesteros Award after being voted Player of the Year for last season by his fellow professionals on the DP World Tour.
The 36-year-old becomes the first New Zealander to win the prestigious award since Michael Campbell received the honour in 2005, and it comes after an outstanding season during which he won twice and finished in a career-best second place on the DP World Tour Rankings presented by Rolex.
Fox polled 50% of the votes cast in total by the DP World Tour members, with DP World Tour Rankings winner Rory McIlroy taking second place ahead of the 2022 U.S. Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick in third.
The Kiwi was presented with the trophy by one of Seve’s sons Javier and his daughter Carmen, both of whom travelled to this week’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour – a tournament won by Seve himself in 1992 – to officially welcome Fox to the illustrious list of winners.
Fox started 2022 in fine style, picking up his second DP World Tour title at the Ras al Khaimah Classic in February before an emotional victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St Andrews in October.
The 2016 Challenge Tour graduate dedicated his victory at the Home of Golf to the late cricketing great Shane Warne, whom he paired up with in the popular Pro-Am format on numerous occasions, including finishing runners-up together in the 2021 contest.
In addition to his pair of victories, Fox showed remarkable consistency to notch up four second place finishes – at the Soudal Open, Dutch Open, Horizon Irish Open and the Nedbank Golf Challenge – as well as a further four top tens.
His excellent form led to a meteoric rise up the Official World Golf Ranking as he climbed from outside the top 200 into the world’s top 50 for the first time, peaking at a career-best 23rd after his victory at the Old Course.
The Player of the Year Award, named after the legendary Seve Ballesteros, last year amalgamated with the former Golfer of the Year award to become one singular honour voted for by the players, helping further commemorate the Spaniard’s incredible legacy.
Fox said: “It’s probably not something that I expected ever in my career. I would like to say it’s something I dreamed of, but you look at those names on the trophy and I probably don’t count myself as one of those. That is pretty cool, and to have Javier and Carmen come out and present it made it even more special.
“Last year I thought I had a chance but a few other guys played pretty well, Rory, Matt, Jon Rahm, especially at the end of the year. So when Keith Pelley told me I was pretty shocked and obviously pretty chuffed as well. To have your peers vote for you makes it that extra bit special.
“Obviously Dunhill Links was a big highlight for me last year, to win around the Home of Golf, it doesn’t really get any better. I shared the experience with Shane Warne for the previous four or five Dunhills that I played, and it was a bit sad without him there last year. To honour him that way made it even more special.
“Seve is such an icon of golf, and I’m a bit of a golf nut. I knew the history of Seve but probably didn’t quite understand then, growing up in New Zealand, quite the influence he had over here. It’s cool to hear the stories from some of the older guys that played with him, but to have my name on the Seve Ballesteros Award, it’s kind of surreal. It’s pretty cool to be part of a little bit of history in that regard.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour, said: “Ryan’s form throughout 2022 was nothing short of outstanding. His two wins were undoubtedly the highlight, but to record a further eight top tens shows a remarkable level of consistency that clearly impressed his peers.
“Ryan is not only an immensely popular member of the DP World Tour, but also someone who cares deeply for the Tour as is illustrated by the valuable work he does, and the intelligent opinions he offers, as a member of our Tournament Committee.
“I also want to say thank you to Javier and Carmen Ballesteros for making the effort to travel to Dubai to present the award to Ryan. It meant a lot to him and to every one of us at the DP World Tour to have them there to represent their father.”
Javier Ballesteros said: “Well, I’m very happy that Ryan got the award. I think it’s important that Ryan got it with two wins, and of course he played a full season on the DP World Tour. It left me very happy, considering he’s a fantastic guy as well.
“For me, it’s very important and we are very proud to have our father’s name on this award. It’s a prize that is given by the players and to have his name on the award, it’s a very good way to keep his legacy alive.”