The consistency that defined Michael Hoey’s opening to the season has abandoned the Ballymoney professional of late but lucrative starts, beginning with this week’s Porsche European Open, mean opportunity still very much knocks for the experienced pro.
Eight straight cuts made after a tied 17th at the ISPS Handa Vic Open back in February set a promising precedent for the five-time European Tour winner this year. However, since failing to make the weekend at the Belgian Knockout back in June, Hoey’s gone on a run of eight missed cuts, a stretch of results symbolising the highs and lows of the game of golf
“It’s not been great,” Hoey admitted after using a “week off” last week to hone his skills on the EuroPro Tour at Tulfarris. “The start of the year I didn’t miss a cut for the first eight events and it was actually good. I’m working as hard as ever but sometimes you just don’t get the results to show for it – that’s golf.
“I need to play a little bit better over the next two weeks in Germany and at the KLM to get a few more points up in the Race to Dubai.”
It’s a race that Hoey finds himself struggling to keep pace in; the Northern Irishman now 168th in the season-long standings, but there’s reason to be optimistic.
“It was nice to play the last few holes in a couple under at Tulfarris,” Hoey added, having stormed home in 33 strokes to grab a top-15 finish.
“I holed a nice few putts but you have to take that with you to the next week. I’m driving it very well, it’s just the irons that aren’t good enough at the minute.”
That’s not to say he’s not doing everything in his power to right the wrongs that are currently plaguing his scoring. A world class field has descended on Hamburg with the likes of Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele and Matt Kuchar adding some star power to a line-up that Hoey remains more determined than ever to compete against.
“I’m very hungry, even at my age, but that’s golf, it’s very addictive!” Hoey said. “Even though we take a bit of pain and it beats you up, if you hit a few good shots and hole some nice putts, it brings you back. And ultimately, it’s not easy to get a job in the real world either.
“It’s not the real world this, so if you can make money at it, nobody is going to give you a job in the real world. But yeah, I do enjoy it and I’m addicted enough to want to keep going at the moment.”
And why wouldn’t he? Still rubbing shoulders with the world’s best, Hoey can take advantage of the €2,000,000 prize pots on offer this week in Germany before heading for Amsterdam and the KLM Open where he’ll contest for the same money there. And there’s more.
“I still have about five invites so lots of opportunity,” Hoey revealed. “These two coming up, the Dunhill Links, then I might get the Spanish and I might get the French depending on what guys do with the Rolex events – a lot of guys won’t play either side of the two big events coming up but it’s going to be a last minute thing.
“If I’m lucky, I get five and if not, I get four and I’ll have the Irish Challenge at Headfort so there’s lots to look forward to.”
Joining Hoey this week is Challenge Tour stalwart and Ardglass professional, Cormac Sharvin, who’s fresh from a week off and is enjoying his most consistent campaign to date as he attempts to join Hoey full-time on the Main Tour.
Dubliner Gavin Moynihan is also in the field and will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing at the European Masters where he missed the weekend cut while European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington completes the Irish challenge this week as he continues to chase his own playing ambitions before captaincy duties take hold.