It’s nothing new for professional athletes to be overcome with emotion when taking victory in a sporting event to which they have dedicated so much time and effort but for New Zealand’s Ryan Fox his most recent victory at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship proved to be a bittersweet moment as his thoughts remained with his great friend Shane Warne.
After claiming his second win of the season and securing his third European Tour title with a one-stroke win, Fox’s elation at his triumph quickly turned to sadness as he reflected on the passing of Warne.
Fox, who had previously played alongside the former King of Spin in last year’s team event in Scottland was profoundly impacted by Warne’s sudden passing in March earlier this year.
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“To be honest the only person I can really think of at the moment is Warney,” he said.
“I felt that Warney was with me this week. You need a little bit of luck in golf and I felt that he was that today.
“He absolutely loved this tournament and we had an awful lot of fun here over the years. A lot of people missed him this week including myself but I’m pretty proud to get the job done and remember him like that.
“He meant a lot to me and this event and was a great mate. It’s a terrible shame he’s not here.”
Per Golf Australia, it had just taken Fox seven holes on the tournament’s fourth round for him to secure the lead “before a combination of magnificent approach play and brilliance on the greens helped the 35-year-old extend his advantage to three strokes with three to play.”
Fox went on to share that there was “definitely some luck” in the lead-up to his win.
“Obviously I was pretty nervy the last three holes. I didn’t hit very good shots, to be honest, down the 16th, 17th and 18th. He [Warne] was definitely helping out,” he said.
Fox’s touching tribute to the King of Spin comes as a sweet reminder of Warne’s impact on the sporting world as the late cricketer’s eldest daughter, Brooke Warne, grills Channel 9 over their “disrespectful” biopic about her late father.
Earlier this year Nine’s head of drama, Andy Ryan, told The Sydney Morning Herald that a proposed biopic about Warne “will be larger than life – entertaining, confronting, thought-provoking”.
However, Warne’s family and close friends have reportedly been unhappy with the concept.
While attending a charity event in Melbourne, Brooke expressed her dismay at the production of a biopic about her late father.
During Sunday’s October 2 event, which aims to promote awareness for mental health support and suicide prevention, Brooke Warne spoke to The Herald Sun about her own struggles with media attention particularly given the “total disrespect” demonstrated by those creating the upcoming biopic about her late father.
“With the extra media scrutiny created by dad’s passing I need to stay mindful to deal with the attention,” she said.
“Especially with the negative aspect, such as the total disrespect shown by Channel Nine in creating a biopic about dad so soon after he passed.”
Brooke had first made her feelings well and truly known about the telemovie when she questioned whether the Nine network has “any respect” for her late father when a conversation between Nine presenter Jo Hall and radio personality Dee Dee Dunleavy turned to the upcoming movie on radio station 3AW.
“Do any of you have any respect for Dad? Or his family? Who did so much for Channel 9 and now you want to dramatise his life and our families life 6 months after he passed away? You are beyond disrespectful,” she wrote on her Instagram story.
Despite the backlash to the telemovie from those closest to Warne, his former manager James Erskine recently discussed the biopic with Nine executives who assured him the story will be made up of narratives from interviews with Warne.
“They have assured me it will be done appropriately. At the end of the day if they do a hatchet job, then the whole world will be watching,” Erskine said.