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THE IRISH OPEN


June 26, 2012


Michael Hoey


PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND

PAUL SYMES:テつ Talk about playing the Irish Open here in your home country.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Yeah, it's a bit weird being here for the Irish Open, because obviously played the north of Ireland amateur here and it's great to have the tournament, but it's a bit different.テつ But awesome, obviously.
PAUL SYMES:テつ What makes Portrush such a special place to play golf.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Just it was interesting, I would have laid odds they would have made the golf course a bit short, but they have done really good course design.テつ They have put a few tees just far enough back, and it's soft conditions at the minute, and it's playing long.テつ So I think just this course is now set up just perfectly and visually it's great.
Just the run‑offs around the greens, you just have to be pinpoint accurate and then the wind and the guys are talking about how got grass is for divots, it's just pure, great links, a lit like St. Andrews.テつ It's really good.
PAUL SYMES:テつ I assume you've been inundated with ticket requests this week, a lot of support.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Yeah, Tuesday, it feels like The Open Championship, which is unbelievable.

Q.テつ Wondering if you could talk us through three of the key holes, three of the most important holes in the round at Portrush.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ I think some of the par3s are really difficult, the 6th, and the 14th, obviously Calamity.テつ Just finished there and the wind is in off the left and it's a really solid 2‑iron or maybe 3‑wood.テつ It's good, because if it wasn't windy, some guys would hit like 5‑iron in there.テつ So it's a proper test at the minute which is really good.
So I think par 3s, and then like 17 is tough.テつ That bunker is really in play off the tee.テつ The wind is in off the left, and I hit a good drive and the wind just leaked it and it plugged in bunker.テつ You could make a 10 if you're in there.テつ You see quite a few players bailing out left.
So that's quite a tough hole, and then the finishing hole 18 is tough, and the first, a lot of tough holes.

Q.テつ What's tough about the 18th hole?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Just the wind today, slightly in from right‑to‑left and the cross‑bunker there is in play.テつ So, just, it's tough.

Q.テつ I'm sure you've thought a lot about the three Major winners who have come from Northern Ireland in the last two years.テつ Just wondering how you explain that, and does it inspire you.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ It does.テつ I've obviously played a lot of golf with Graeme, and obviously he's been very good mentally.テつ He putts great and he hits the ball well.テつ So for meobviously, looking ahead at Qualifying School and stuff, I still don't have the consistency I would like to have, but Graeme has certainly showed us what mental strength and belief and short game can do.
Darren has obviously been an exceptional ball‑striker and Rory is an exceptional ball‑striker.テつ Yeah, it's just encouraging for myself.テつ I played on the Walker Cup Team with Luke Donald, and he's world No. 1, so I try and take positives from that.

Q.テつ Are you surprised at the success last week of Alan Dunbar?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ No, the conditions were tough, weren't they, very windy.テつ Probably like at Prestwick, it was not good weather.テつ So it's local knowledge here.テつ No, he's got a great putting stroke.テつ I played with him a couple of years ago, and ‑‑ his swing at that stagewith Johnny Foster, coach, and had a lovely putting stroke.テつ That's where he got up on me the last couple of holes.テつ His putting stroke was much better than mine was at that level.テつ He'll probably do well and he has a good chance of doing well in Augusta with a stroke like that because those greens are obviously pretty tough.

Q.テつ Just on that, if Alan was to ask you for some advice, I don't know if he has or not, but what would you be telling him to do right now?テつ He's obviously got those invitations to play, and the Open and next year the Masters and the U.S. Open.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Yeah, I didn't get the U.S. Open; that's a bit unfair.テつ No, it's just great experience, isn't it.テつ And he'll get maybe Memorial and a couple of extra things, as well, so it's an unbelievable platform.
If he doesn't do well‑‑ Harrington said to me actually, if it doesn't go well your first year as a pro, don't get totally discouraged because it's meant to be a long journey.テつ Obviously it didn't go well for me, and I did get discouraged, but I would probably say the same, because it's tough at the start with travelling.
There's so many good players now; there's fractions separating people.テつ I would say just don't get discouraged, if the first year doesn't go that well or you don't get through Q‑School or you don't win a tournament like Graeme or Sergio, so just stay patient because it's hopefully a long career.

Q.テつ How long would you recommend his to remain amateur till?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Not being negative, but you don't know that you're going to get Top‑50 in the world as a pro to get into Augusta.テつ So he's guaranteed Augusta to turn pro.テつ So I would say you have wait for that and the U.S. Open.テつ It's been a long career, so plenty of time.

Q.テつ Have you ever ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ on 17?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ I don't think I actually have ever been in that bunker, because the other two years when I played‑‑ it was further left you and went sort of past and took a left. テつI took a wedge out of it ‑‑ you can lose a second shot into the rough very easily.テつ So you want to just try and aim at the first tee almost, just right of the first tee and let the wind hit it.テつ It could be a disaster potentially so just left I think.テつ The rough is not thick in the left.テつ So if you see me go in the bunker‑‑

Q.テつ Obviously playing last week, the decision to go to PGA TOUR school at the end of the year, if you are successful, having an all‑around game, do you see yourself going to the PGA TOUR?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ My game is obviously up‑and‑down, pretty inconsistent.テつ I did hit my ball the best I've ever hit it was in Morocco this year; I was 19‑under for three rounds.テつ That was sort of PGA TOUR golf, not much wind and slopey greens, good greens.テつ So 19‑under for three; if I can find a swing, which I'm trying hard to, my short game has improved, so yeah.
I'm exempt obviously, so last year of the Qualifying School, so it would be silly to not have a go, unless I have to go to maybe first stage; first, second, third stage, that would be three months of golf, so don't know if ‑‑ to see if I'm exempt, second, or something like that.テつ We'll see what happens.テつ Who wouldn't one every week‑‑ who doesn't want that prize money?テつ But tough to get through.テつ

Q.テつ Since you made your breakthrough win, how do you think if you were in contention Sunday on here would compare, especially to St. Andrews?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ No, I think it would be bigger than the Dunhill Links, even though the World Ranking points it's not as big as.テつ But just on this course and this tournament and at home, maybe last year, don't know when it's going to be up here again, and the atmosphere is like an Open atmosphere so I think it would be bigger definitely than the Dunhill Links.

Q.テつ You can easily handle the pressure, but the home crowds will be quite something.
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ I'm okay if I'm hitting the ball well.テつ I believe in myself.テつ But I have kind of extreme beliefs, so if I'm playing really well, I really believe in myself; and if I'm not playing well, I don't believe in myself.テつ So it's kind of like nowhere in between.
If I'm swinging the club well, I have a lot of confidence; and if I don't, I have no confidence.テつ So I need to get just a bit more consistent with swing and belief.テつ But if I was in contention, yeah, I believe I could do it, yeah.テつ Just getting there.

Q.テつ Following on, when do you find out or know if you're swinging well enough to do well?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ The feeling is in my swing.テつ I've got strong arms.テつ Basically that's where my power comes from.テつ If I don't use them properly, they will be totally out of control.
Obviously I need to just try and relax a bit and try and just have a more solid base on my swing and I can feel it when I get to the top, yeah, that's a solid right leg position.テつ That's what I did well in the Walker and quite well in the Dunhill.
Golf is funny.テつ Sometimes it's hard to get those same feelings again but I'm working hard with my coach and we had a good session today really.テつ And funny enough, Pete Cowen was working with Harrington on ‑‑ he's big into holding the ground with your legs.テつ That's what golf is, using your legs probably, so hopefully I can do that.

Q.テつ So when do you know if it's going to work?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Just if I get the feelings right, it can come during the round but I really feel like I've got a strong flex and using my legs well and if I've got some rhythm I can play with, otherwise it all goes too quickly.

Q.テつ Joe Kerry used to say that this course would frustrate the hell out of you if you're not careful because you're going to get a lucky bounce or two; more so than a lot of other courses.テつ Would you subscribe to that?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ I don't know.テつ I mean, a lot of these old courses, my dad would tell you, are designed for the ball to run into the green and the areas in front of the green are quite flat, like the 18th and the 17th.
But like the 4th, for example, it was designed to be like 3‑iron second shot and feed in through the valley into the green.テつ I think that there's a lot of run‑offs and you would get very frustrated like the 12th hole‑‑ and if it's down, it's such a hard chip shot.テつ You can make double‑bogey incredibly easy and there's a lot of run‑offs, 16, as well, just left of the green is Calamity if you're just right, quick that into the rough.
Golf is frustrating, but there will be frustration, definitely.テつ I don't know about so much unlucky bounces.テつ I think if your shot is not totally on, it will get a weird bounce I think.

Q.テつ And how do you prepare yourself mentally for that?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Yeah, just need to accept.テつ It's the hardest thing in golf to accept a poor shot.テつ I struggle with that really.テつ Padraig I know he talks about acceptance before you hit the shot, you have to accept whatever happens.テつ It's difficult looking up and your line is there, and the ball is going like this; how do you accept that?テつ It's really hard to.テつ But if you've done your best to hit the shot, them you have to accept it.

Q.テつ Just on the last three holes, I mean, how frustrating is that compared to other really frustrating‑‑ is it different?
MICHAEL HOEY:テつ Yeah, just with the swing being a bit loose, it's really frustrating because the ball, it can go over.テつ So that is frustrating.
But at the same time, you know, I proved that I was able to win a tournament, so obviously I was under pressure because you want to get World Rankings and stuff.テつ Frustrating, a bit dejected really when you're practising a lot and your swing is not quite there and you know you can‑‑ you know you can be 19‑under for three rounds, and you wonder, why can't you just repeat that.テつ It's not just luck; there's science behind it, technique and mental.
So it's not just, I don't know how I'm going to play today.テつ There is a process there.テつ So, yeah, frustrating, but I still get exempt until 2014.テつ So I just want to try and swing the club decent for the next six weeks, because I'm in a lot of good tournaments.テつ It would be frustrating if I didn't swing the club too well the next six weeks.テつ Who wouldn't be, though.
PAUL SYMES:テつ Thank you, play well this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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