The Irish Open is always one of the first tournaments pencilled into Michael Hoey’s schedule and this week’s staging at Fota Island brings back some special memories for the five-time tour winner.
In 2002, as a fledgling professional, Hoey missed the cut at Fota Island but he returns this time around as a seasoned campaigner.
“I think the scoring could be low this week. The greens are soft, there’s not that much defence with the weather being good so I expect some good scoring,” said the 35-year-old.
“Thinking back to 2002 the one thing I remember was just how good the greens were. The rough was thick and the weather wasn’t as good. They have tried to lengthen the course since then.
“With modern equipment the ball goes so much further, it’s not that I’ve got stronger.”
Currently ranking 44th in the Race to Dubai, Hoey has been working hard with coaches Johnny Foster and Justin Parson ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
“They have both given me some really good information so I just have to take that on board myself now,” he added.
“My chipping hasn’t been great of late but a couple of little set-up things have made a big difference, I chipped in twice today in the pro-Am.”