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October 2, 2011

Michael Hoey


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Many, many congratulations, Alfred Dunhill Links Champion. Just give us your thoughts on your tremendous performance.
MICHAEL HOEY: Just wanted -- going into today, I knew I had played great, holed bunker shots, hit the ball really good, great up-and-downs. When I hit a poor shot, I got a really good lie in the rough.
Everything had gone my way going into today and I thought, right, you know, you're playing with major champions, so you just have to play the same game again. And I struggled at the start. I was really struggling, and couldn't find any rhythm with my swing but somehow the pace of play, slowing down, it helped a little bit. Slowed down, found a bit of rhythm and knew that I had to play two of the best shots of my career into 16 and 17 and obviously 18.
I'm just really pleased, a couple of seven irons into 16 and 17, 166 yards. It's a good yardage for that shot. All kind of danger, 16 and 17. Has not sunk in. Won't sink in for a while. Just had a great week. The weather was fantastic. It was not great yesterday morning at Carnoustie, cleared up lovely. And today was the same.
We just really enjoyed it. Tried to stay relaxed. But speaking to William, my partner, we just enjoyed it. We didn't get angry when we hit poor shots, and just stayed relaxed and enjoyed the Pro-Am format.

Q. In terms of your career, can you believe it, that finally, you're there, going to be doing it, and a lot more?
MICHAEL HOEY: I've watched a lot of golf on TV and I've always watched Firestone, Ohio, and I thought, if I can play in those events -- I didn't know that, so unbelievably happy. A dream come true. Same with HSBC. I've watched all of these events over the years on TV and now I'm finally playing in them. I'm ectatic.

Q. Winning the tournament -- McIlroy and McDowell --
MICHAEL HOEY: Well, obviously major champions, yeah, I was just trying to -- really just playing against myself at that stage and not looking at what the other guys were doing. Just find your rhythm, just -- I felt like I could lose it at that stage. It was really just trying not to get ahead of myself.
But obviously Graeme was great to play with. He's such a battler. Wants to win it. And if you hit a good shot, he's like, "Great shot, go get it." And he said to me, "Knock it in" a few times on the green. Fortunately at the end I was able to put a bit of fight on myself.

Q. Birdieing three out of the last four at St. Andrews, shows you've won it in style?
MICHAEL HOEY: I wanted to birdie the last. I wanted to hole that putt. I was shaking over it. My caddie said, "Just roll it to the hole."
But I wanted to hole that and finish it out. Yeah, anything could happen on 17. Just a good swing off the tee, just stayed with it. I was disappointed, 14, I hit driver off the deck, the front of the green and just really felt like I hit two good putts there. That was -- I felt, I'm throwing this thing away. I know you can't think that but I was struggling a bit there, because I missed a 4-footer for birdie on 12. And I thought, what, you're just giving this away to the rest of the field.
I didn't want it to be -- I should have birdied 12 and 14 easily, and that would have got myself to 21-under, and then it would have been a couple, or certainly ahead.

Q. Graeme and Rory said that you had a supreme talent and were really surprised you had not kicked on, and obviously you're going to be proud now that you have kicked on?
MICHAEL HOEY: Yeah, it's taken a long time, but in a weird way, you enjoy it more, because struggling, six years of Qualifying School. It's not nice, when you're running out of money and you're confused about your golf swing and you're away every week travelling, no family life.
So, there's points there where you think, do I want to do this; do I want to continue with this. But I love the game and I've found a good coach which has been a bit inconsistent but I putted great this week. Even today, I hit a couple of not great putts.
Challenge Tour, really just that toughens you up. I had three wins on The Challenge Tour, which almost is harder than -- in a way it's harder than winning out here. If you let the occasion get to you out here, it will be harder to win. But you've got to do everything yourself on The Challenge Tour, and sometimes it's 25-under, so it's tough really.

Q. Can you remember any particular times you said, where you thought, I've had had enough of this?
MICHAEL HOEY: I played in the Masters in 2002, and then turned pro that year. Then struggled -- got seven invites and struggled. Short game wasn't good enough. Long game wasn't far away but short game wasn't up to top players out here. I think I made two cuts out of seven. Just missed the Qualifying School. The next year I was playing Euro Pro and missing cuts, four Euro Pro events. That was tough at that stage, I had to go to first stage of Qualifying School, but I won the first, and third second stage, and that gave me a bit of a boost and was making enough money to keep paying my way.
But 2003, to go from Augusta to not great golf courses on the Euro Pro Tour, it's a big change.

Q. So the greens on the Euro Pro are not as good as Augusta?
MICHAEL HOEY: You have to play wherever you're playing, but you have to find your own inspiration.

Q. Two guys you know so well -- have you been inspired by them, have they been an inspiration?
MICHAEL HOEY: Totally, yeah. It has not sunk in yet. When I'm playing HSBC and Valderrama, and maybe travelling a little bit with the guys next year to maybe the States, I'll think, yeah, you know, I belong, I've earned my way into these events, 22-under in the Dunhill Links.
I struggled with -- my belief has been high and low. At times I've thought, I'm unbelievably good and at times I've felt, I just don't have the consistency, which is what it's all about. Whereas now, I've got that consistency.

Q. Were you aware of what Rory was up to on the front nine, and did that have any effect on your own mind-set?
MICHAEL HOEY: I saw he was going really well. You know, I just had to find a bit of rhythm. I just really don't get into what the other guys are doing, because I find that that doesn't work for me. Working with a sports psychologist -- inaudible -- one shot at a time.
I knew the last few holes, we were waiting on shots, I watched Rory play the second shot into 14 I think, or 17, and I was a little bit surprised he didn't maybe get to 22. I thought he was on fire and could get there. But it's been a long week and it's hard to keep the rhythm going on the greens. It really is. It's a marathon.

Q. The Amateur Championship at Prestwick and Dunhill Links at St. Andrews; a pretty nice double?
MICHAEL HOEY: Yeah, that's dream stuff, really, the British Amateur, another long week, and at one stage -- but I came over here watching the Dunhill Cup in 1993, 1996, and 1997. Watched Mickelson, John Daly, Faldo, all of the guys, I just thought, oh, the way they strike the ball, how good do they hit it. I would love to play here. And now I'm playing here and winning the Dunhill Links, as well. If you're into golf like me, it doesn't get much better.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: And we'll end on that, Michael. Many congratulations, well done.

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