It’s been a big year for Ryan Ruffels – and it shows no signs of abating.
Since he burst to national prominence at last year’s Emirates Australian Open, the talented Victorian has had many doors open to him.
Just last week he took an hour-long phone call from triple Masters champion Phil Mickelson.
Then last weekend, he received an unexpected text from world No.1 Rory McIlroy with a request that almost blew his mind.
“Last year I got Rory’s number at the Open and I used it a little but three or four days ago, Rory text me out of nowhere,” said Ruffels, who is wrapping up Year 11 studies and is a member of Golf Australia’s national squad.
“He said he was getting in Monday night of the Open week, and would I like to have a practice round Tuesday, maybe some lunch.
“I feel like I am the same person but all these people who have won majors and I am getting to play with them and talk to them. It’s a bit of a whirlwind and a bit weird.”
That cyclone of adventure continues this week at the Australian Masters where he was today given a marquee group date with Adam Scott and fellow Victoria Golf Club member Geoff Ogilvy in the first two rounds at Metropolitan.
“It’s going to be great for me to see how they compete,” Ruffels enthused.
“They have both won majors and it would be great to see how I go and whether I can hold my ground against them.
“It would be a lot of fun for me to beat them but it’s a big ask. I’ll be pretty nervous, but I’ll get used to it. I’ve been under pressure before.”
Adding to the buzz was a practice round today with former Australian Masters champion and multiple PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby.
The veteran Victorian was effusive in his praise after their hit, but said application would be the key factor to determine Ruffels’ ultimate success.
After sharing his round with three amateurs whose combined age, he joked, was just over his, Appleby said the horizon was almost limitless.
“To think they are playing the Australian Masters (at that age) is ridiculous. I couldn't have got to the Australian Masters unless I got an invite in my teens – I certainly couldn't have played my way in.
“It's great, I'll get my rocking chair in 20 years time and turn around and go, I remember playing with that kid.
“It's great to see young talent and good to play with them. I don't know what I can teach them. “