With almost half the European Tour season done and dusted, Michael Hoey finds himself in the enviable position of having already secured his ‘job’ for next season.
A consistent run of form has lifted the five-time tour winner to 34th in the Race to Dubai and he is now looking ahead to a string of big summer tournaments.
“I am working with Johnny Foster here and Justin Parson over in Dubai, both excellent coaches and I have got myself into a good place. I trust Johnny and Justin and I am not trying to change my swing all the time.
“The putting has also been really good and that is key to this consistent run,” said Hoey, who was speaking at the launch of the NI Open Challenge (below right) which returns to Galgorm Castle from August 28-31.
The Ballymoney born golfer will again be the marquee name for the second staging of a tournament that drew in 22,000 spectators last year. Michael is now the club’s touring professional and sees the link-up as mutually beneficial.
“It’s a very progressive club. They have a lot of businesses going on. We all know it’s hard work for golf clubs at the moment but at Galgorm, they have the business centre here and the garden centre amongst other things,” he said.
“They are continuing to work on the golf course as well and I count myself fortunate to be involved with them.”
Michael believes the NI Open Challenge fits perfectly into his schedule, coming as it does before what could be a hectic closing run of tournaments which could well take him all the way to the DP World Tour Championship in November.
For the moment however, his thoughts are on the summer campaign, which will see him play in Ireland, Germany, France and Scotland. He also has ambitions to play in both the US Open and the Open Championship.
He continued, “My next three events will be Spain (May 15-21), Wentworth (May 22-25) and Sweden (May-29-June 1). I would love to qualify for the US Open. It’s quite awkward because it’s the week before the Irish Open (June 19- June 22) but hopefully I can qualify and then worry about that later.
“Then it’s the Irish Open, Germany (June 26-29), French (July 03-06), Scottish (July 10-13) and The Open (July 17-20) . That’s five in a row. Obviously it would be great to qualify for The Open but look, it’s a nice problem to have, if you can get into all of them.”
Michael is now ranked 188 in the world, his best was 74th, after his win in Morocco in 2012. Never one to really concentrate on his ranking, the 35-year-old is now looking to climb back into the world’s top 100.
“Being in contention is obviously the only way you can win things but it’s nice not to be as hot and cold because you just do not know where you are then. I have never been consistent enough to really focus on the rankings but getting back into the top 100 would get me into the US PGA (Aug 7-Aiug 10) and that is a real goal,” he said.
“I think I am a better player than I was two years ago and I got into the US PGA so I’m thinking why not do it again.”