Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga standout Steven Fox has said all summer long that he would become a professional golfer sometime after the 2013 U.S. Amateur.
That time came Friday.
Meister Sports Management announced Fox's declaration Friday morning in time for it to receive mention on the GolfChannel's program "Morning Drive" from co-hosts Holly Sonders and Honors Course member Charlie Rymer.
"It does feel official today," Fox said. "Now that it's finalized, I get to call myself a pro."
Fox, who spent his high school years in Hendersonville, Tenn., rose to national attention by coming back from 2 down with two holes to play and winning the 2012 U.S. Amateur championship at fabled Cherry Hills Golf Course outside of Denver.
That victory earned him a spot on the United States team in the World Amateur Team Championship, which he helped America win. It also garnered him automatic starts in the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Fox played in a total of nine events against PGA Tour professionals in the last year. His best finish came at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, where he shot 71-69 but missed the cut.
Fox missed the match-play field of 64 at this year's U.S. Amateur in his attempt to defend his national championship.
"He's a good, fun kid and he's got so much talent and he brings that talent and personality to the golf course, and that's what people want to see," said Inga Hammond, who is one of three executives at Meister Sports Management handling Fox. "He had drama with his win at the Am, and you know he's going to have more dramatic moments in his golf career."
Fox will begin his professional career in a Web.com Tour qualifying event. He does not know the date or location of the tournament. A new system implemented for this year allows qualifiers only to earn Web.com Tour cards instead of the old system, where players could go through Q-School and earn status on the PGA Tour.
But educational classes come first this fall.
"I'm taking 13 hours with no class on Wednesday or Fridays so I get to practice," said Fox, who is residing on campus with three former UTC teammates. "There's no more college golf for me. I have a lot of good memories with the team."
Fox will make more memories in the future.
Meister Sports won the courting of Fox in part because it's a smaller sports agency and in large part because the decisive meeting happened in his family's dining room and living room instead of a restaurant where others had courted him. The agency's most well-known athlete is retired baseball pitcher Randy Johnson.
"They were in the picture the whole time," Fox said. "That meeting was close to five hours."
The agency, Hammond said, will be responsible for Fox's appearances, his sponsorships -- from Chattanooga- and Nashville-based companies -- as well as equipment endorsement.
"One of the big things we believe in are the home ties," Hammond said. "We're looking at Tennessee businesses in Hendersonville, Nashville and Chattanooga to sponsor him.
"He's the future. He's got so much talent, and with that talent he brings personality to he course, and that's what people want to see."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him 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 ...
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