Posts Tagged ‘Michael Hoey’

Will Jonathan Caldwell rise to the Challenge in 2018? Clandeboye golfer ready to go in Turkey

April 25, 2018

Jonathan Caldwell (pic via PGA Europro Tour)

It’s been a long time coming but Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell will finally get his Challenge Tour season underway on Thursday at the Turkish Airlines Challenge in Belek.
Caldwell secured his Challenge Tour card on the final day of the Europro Tour season back in October at the Sky Sports Tour Championship. A 15th place finish in Portugal saw him grab the fifth and final card on offer via the Tour’s Order of Merit.
Since then he’s had precious little competitive golf and he’s ready to get started.
“It’s been a long wait between tournaments but generally I have managed to stay patient and positive,” said Jonny.
“I played in the second stage of European Tour Q-School and narrowly missed out there and then in February, I went to Spain for a couple of weeks to play on the Evolve Tour.
“I managed to get a win over there but it was mostly about finding out what stage my game was at and what I needed to be working on.”
A long wet, cold winter hasn’t been particularly conducive to quality practice but the 33-year-old is determined to make an impact on the Challenge Tour this season.
After a number of years struggling to find his way as a professional, Jonny, a former leading amateur who played Walker Cup alongside Rory McIlroy at Royal County Down in 2007, is finally moving in the right direction again.
With the support of the Clandeboye members and some key sponsors – Wirefox, Woodgate Aviation and the Safety Advice Centre, Bangor – he has been freed from financial worries to focus on golf and has turned his fortunes around on the course over the last 18 months.

“My expectations are high. Hopefully, I will be competing at the top end of the leaderboard,” added Jonny.

“I feel that I have had some decent prep this winter considering the weather we have been dealing with. My game is in reasonably good shape and a couple of days in Turkey will hopefully help sharpen up the short game.

“My number one goal this year is to win and then to finish inside the top 70 which will guarantee my playing privileges for 2019.”
The Turkish Airlines Challenge is the third event of the Challenge Tour season which will include visits to Galgorm Castle for the NI Open in August and Concra Wood in Co.Monaghan for the Irish Challenge in September.
Joining Jonny in Turkey are Cormac Sharvin and Michael Hoey alongside a number of bright young Irish talents in Stuart Grehan, Gary Hurley, Gavin Moynihan and Ruaidhri McGee.

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Going low is a new challenge for Michael Hoey

March 25, 2018

Michael Hoey in action at Galgorm Castle


Michael Hoey finished tied for 18th in the opening event of the 2018 Challenge Tour season – the Barclays Kenya Open.
Now in his 16th year as a professional, he remains committed to the sport and engrossed in his job but the harsh realities facing professional golfers on the satellite tours are never far from his mind.

“I’m putting more into it now than I have done in years,” insists the 39-year-old who is fit and healthy after shaking off a lower back problem that hampered him last year.
“I still love the competition but professional golf is difficult and making money at it is the problem.
“The scoring is just so good now. Some weeks on tour the leaders are reaching 25 under which is incredible.”
After turning professional in 2002, Michael struggled to find his feet until finally becoming a fixture on the European Tour from 2009 to 2016.
He collected five wins in that period, the biggest of which was the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2011. He was often inconsistent but when he got into a winning position, he had an uncanny knack of getting the job done.
He dropped down on to the Challenge Tour last year and will once again be plying his trade alongside the young guns in 2018.
“I quite enjoyed most of 2017 but I didn’t enjoy the lack of money,” he added.
“I like the friendly atmosphere around the Challenge Tour. There’s less clutter, fewer managers, agents and reps around.
“You just get to the venue and play golf so it’s quite pure in that regard.

“But it is tough going. You work hard, play well in some events and finish 11th, 12th, 13th and you walk away with €3,000 or €4,000. That just about pays for your expenses and you’ve played pretty well.

“I actually had my lowest ever stroke average last year and I was quite consistent but I just didn’t go low enough when I needed to.”
Michael’s role as tournament ambassador with the NI Open at Galgorm Castle had given him an insight into the low-scoring mind-set on the Challenge Tour but the week-to-week aggressive on-course approach of the players has given him pause for thought.
He continued; “There are so many players around the same mark these days and that is why cuts are so high. You can sometimes have 30 people on the same score. When I started 10, 15 years ago you would have had eight to 10 people on the same score. The cuts are so deep now.
“The standard is just so good. Yes, the courses are pretty straightforward, but it is ridiculously low scoring. It seems that every day someone shots 10 under par so you have got to be able to putt but I guess it is the same for everyone in the field.
“You have to be dialled in with the short irons. Know exactly how far you hit them and then you have to be able to score. Driver accuracy isn’t as important as driver length.
“I have seen so many guys on Challenge Tour hit a really bad tee shot but still walk away with birdie. On the main tour, you will be punished more often.”

As a result, Michael has been working hard on his game, particularly his putting at home. He’s also been hitting the gym with one eye on extending his career.
“I spoke to some of the physio guys at the end of last year about what I needed to do to stay competitive in my late 30s,” added Michael.
“They encouraged me to lift some weights because you need to keep your testosterone levels up especially when you are over 30.”
While he feels that things are in a good place physically and technically, he admits there is still room for improvement in his approach to how he plays the game.
He added; “On a Thursday you have to go for it from the start and be aggressive. Even making the cut is a waste of time because the money is so top heavy. You have to change your thinking and go for it and that is difficult.
“I have always had an attitude about playing my way into a round and finding some rhythm, not taking shots on until you have strung a few pars together.

“Last year, there was only four weeks on tour when the winning total was less than 16 under. How can you possibly play your way into a round by stringing a few pars together? That doesn’t work now.

“I tend to agree with the theory about how growing up on tough links course at home doesn’t help you as a professional. It is a birdie festival now and one under par isn’t a good score anymore. The cut in Turkey was five under last year!”

A more extensive version of this article appeared in Irish Golf Magazine.

NI Open – Cormac Sharvin carries home hopes into Shootout Sunday

August 13, 2017

 

Matthias Schwab

The stage is set for an action-packed final day at the Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
Following three rounds of stroke play and two cuts, the field of 156 has been reduced to 24 players for today’s Shootout Sunday.
In this new format, competitors will engage in a series of head-to-head knock-out stroke play matches, with the player with the lowest total score over six holes progressing through the rounds.
A special shootout hole, a shortened version of the 18th, will be used should a playoff be required after any of the games.
Cormac Sharvin will carry home hopes into Sunday after booking his place in today’s finale with a fine five-under-par 66 that saw him move up 21 places on the leaderboard.
The Ardglass golfer will meet Portugal’s Ricardo Santos in round one this morning for the chance to face Chile’s Nico Geyger.
“I know Ricardo very well – I played a lot of Algarve golf with him in the winter,” said Cormac.
“He’s a really nice guy and he is obviously very experienced – he has played a lot of years on the European Tour.

“It will be a tough game but I think, If I can keep playing the way that I am playing – if I play well for six holes – I think I can beat him.”

Cormac was the only Irish golfer to make the third round cut which fell at five under par. Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey carded a third round one under par 70 to miss out as did Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton, Kevin Phelan and Neil O’Briain.
The 24-year-old Sharvin was weighing up his tactics ahead of his opening tee-shot today at 8.30am.
“It’s hard to know with this format. All you can do is play well and hope that it’s good enough,” he added.
“You are essentially playing your opponent but it is stroke play as well. It’s a weird format but obviously, if you are two or three shots ahead playing the last you will play it as a three-shotter.
“The beauty of this format is that you can shoot four over for six holes and still potentially make it through.
“All you can do is take it one shot at a time. You have to play smart because six holes isn’t very much so you have to take your chances.”
Sharvin at least had the luxury of booking his place in today’s field with some room to spare. A five-man playoff for the final two spots was required to determine the top 24
Austrian Matthias Schwab topped the three round leaderboard on 11 under par but Wil Besseling, Steven Brown, Julian Kunzenbacher, Max Orrin and Manuel Trappel all tied on five under par after 54 holes and had to go down the 18th again.
Orrin’s birdie on the first extra hole took him into Shootout Sunday, with Brown dropping out with a bogey; the other three all parred before Trappel birdied at the second time of asking and took the final place in the top 24.

 

NI Open Day two – Murray and Kellett lead way

August 12, 2017

Tom Murray

One cut down, another one to come at this year’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open presented by Modest! Golf.
After two days of jockeying for position, the tournament steps up a notch on Saturday with players bidding to finish inside the top 24 and earn a place in Shootout Sunday.
The two-round cut fell at level par on Friday with the magic mark to reach Shootout Sunday hovering around three under.
Ardglass golfer Cormac Sharvin, who finished the day on two under par alongside Irish players Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton and Neil O’Briain was considering a more aggressive approach on Saturday.
“I’m in a pretty good position to get into the last 24. I need one more good round tomorrow,” said Cormac.

“The second cut is around four under at the minute so it’s probably going to go to six.I probably need three or four under par at least tomorrow but you can’t get too aggressive around here.

“I need to be smart, take on flags when they are there but stay away from some tee shots when there is a bit of trouble around.”
Englishman Tom Murray and Scotland’s Ross Kellett lead the way on eight under par, with Austrian Lukas Nemecz a shot further back.
Murray knows how to win on Irish soil, his sole Challenge Tour victory to date came two years ago at the Irish Challenge in Co Carlow, and he is looking forward to the weekend’s contest.
“I don’t know what it is about Ireland but whether it’s south of the border or here up north, it seems to bring out the best in me,” said the 27-year-old.
“The course set up here is probably the best of the year and it feels like a European Tour event, so that helps boost everything, and everything around the event is so good. I’m playing well and putting well, the greens are perfect, so it’s so far so good.
“I was talking to Dominic Foos today on the course about the Shootout Sunday and we were saying how it’s hard, because at the moment it’s just playing like a normal tournament, so we don’t know what to expect really.

“You’ve just got to approach tomorrow how you normally would and go and try to win the tournament, all the boring stuff, shot by shot, then see where we are come Sunday and see what happens.”her back on seven under.”

A total of 73 players made it through to Saturday’s third round with just eight shots separating first from last. Amongst them was tournament ambassador Michael Hoey who had fully expected to miss the cut after following his opening round 69 with a 72 to finish on one under par.
“My game is not far away but it’s just not quite there. It was the same yesterday. I just left a few shots out there,” said Michael.
“The swing is good but I’m just not dialled in enough.”
Play gets underway this morning at 8.30am with the leaders going out at 10.30am.
In the event of a tie for 24th, a sudden death play-off will take place before a draw tomorrow evening to decide the match-play pairings.

Horan and Modest!Golf determined to make positive impact on golfing landscape

August 8, 2017

Niall Horan at Galgorm Castle last year

Niall Horan might sing about “Slow Hands” but there will be nothing pedestrian when the action gets underway at this week’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, presented by Modest!Golf at Galgorm Castle.
The team at Modest! have shaken things up for this year’s showpiece tournament on the international schedule with the eagerly anticipated Shootout Sunday element introduced for the first time.
It’s a brand-new format for the final day where the last remaining players will come down the stretch competing in a knockout format in front of large crowds rather than the traditional four rounds of strokeplay.
“We wanted to put a little twist on it, maybe modernise the format a bit. Golf can be perceived as a little slow and we wanted to speed things up, add more excitement,” said Horan, at this week’s announcement of their fourth player signing, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez from Spain, to the boutique management company.

“The format forces games to play six holes and make it down the 18th and build the atmosphere with a stadium finish. It also helps speed up play and gets people interested that perhaps don’t play golf.”

Introducing new people to the game and nurturing new talent is everything the Modest! team stand for. It’s one of the reasons they elevated their commitment to the NI Open this year to become the presenting sponsor alongside main title sponsor, Galgorm Resort & Spa, who have supported tournament golf at Galgorm Castle from the outset.
“This is the closest thing to a European Tour event these boys will play in. The reaction from the players has been great. You could see the smiles on their faces when we explained the new format,” added Horan.

Before the action begins in earnest on Thursday, the small matter of the Ambassadors Shootout (Tuesday) and the NI Open Pro-am (Wednesday) is the focus with stars from the sporting and entertainment world taking to the course alongside Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
“Each year we have grown this great event to become even bigger and better than before. In 2017, we now have legends such as Pat Jennings and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill plus star names like Stephen Ferris and David Healy joining us to have some fun and promote the best attended event on the European Challenge Tour schedule,” said Hoey, a five-time European Tour winner.
“I welcome the many great names who have thrown their name in the hat and will support this year’s NI Open. GAA is represented by Oisin McConville, snooker’s Mark Allen, motorsport’s William Dunlop and athletics star Michael McKillop are among the new NI Open ambassadors.”

Copy provided by Paul Gallagher courtesy of Galgorm Castle

Northern Ireland manager, Michael O’Neill, to play in NI Open Pro-Am

August 2, 2017

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is the latest high profile signing who will tee it up in next week’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open Pro-am, presented by Modest! Golf.
O’Neill joins a host of star names from Northern Ireland’s sport and entertainment world for a day of fun next Wednesday at Galgorm Castle that serves as the curtain-raiser to the four-day tournament to get under way from August 10-13.
This year the NI Open Pro-am has attracted a stellar line-up of household names who all joined the Ambassador Club to help promote the event alongside long-time Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey.
O’Neill is a keen golfer when not on Northern Ireland duty and this is the first time the manager will play in the NI Open Pro-am. Most of the celebrities will tee off just after midday so make sure to get to Galgorm in plenty of time. O’Neill will be joined by the likes of Michael McKillop, who recently won another middle-distance double at the World Para-athletic Championships in London.
McKillop (27) won the T37 1500m final to add to his T38 800m title to retain the two titles he won at the 2015 championships in Doha. The Glengormley athlete has totally dominated is discipline for over a decade. Next week he will face up to a new challenge on the fairways at Galgorm Castle.
Other star names to look out for include former Northern Ireland heroes David Healy and legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings and snooker’s Mark Allen. Former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions forward Stephen Ferris and Gaelic’s former Armagh and All-Ireland Oisin McConville will also be in action at Galgorm.

Michael McKillop

Modest! Golf will be at Galgorm during tournament week with directors Niall Horan and Mark McDonnell ready to present the trophy to the NI Open winner and the lucky winners of the Junior NI Open on the 18th green in front of the grandstands after the final day Shootout Sunday.
“We say it every time but the NI Open gets better and better each year and 2017 promises to be the best yet, especially with so much to see and do for all the family,” said Hoey, a five-time European Tour winner, who finished eighth in last year’s event behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.

“One of the big talking points for this year’s event is the new Shootout Sunday format where the top 24 players will battle it out in a series of high drama, six-hole matches on the final day. This will give spectators a great opportunity to see the players up close and from the grandstands around the 18th green.”

The NI Open Pro-am is another excellent day for watching some of the best players in Europe compete alongside their celebrities and team of amateurs.
The NI Open is a week-long festival of golf for all the family and entry is FREE, simply register for your tickets online at http://www.niopen.golf

Dermot McElroy determined to make the most of Irish Open invite

July 3, 2017

Dermot McElroy

Receiving an invite into the DDF Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation has been compared to finding the golden ticket in Roald Dahl’s famous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
As one of the European Tour’s Rolex Series events, this year’s tournament at Portstewart GC has a prize fund of $7,000,000 and a first prize touching €1,000,000.
That’s life-changing money and a golden opportunity for those players who have played their way into the field or happen to be lucky enough to receive an invitation.
In that regard, the finger of fate has pointed in the direction of the vastly experienced Michael Hoey, former BMW PGA Champion, Simon Khan, and three young professionals making their way in the game, Gavin Moynihan, Gary Hurley and Dermot McElroy
Ballymena’s McElroy only turned professional in July last year but he has hit the ground running in 2017.
The 24-year-old is riding high on the Europro Tour order of merit and has made the cut in his last two Challenge Tour appearances (Belgium & Scotland)
McElroy expressed his delight at receiving the ‘call-up’ to play in Portstewart after finishing tied for 33rd at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge
“It was one of the nicest phone calls I have had in a long time,” said Dermot.

“My management company tried every avenue to get me in, so to get that invite was great news. I actually got the ferry over to Scotland and drove up to Aviemore for this week’s event because I thought I would be driving back down to Newcastle to play in a EuroPro tournament next week but now, my plans have changed a bit.”

As an amateur, Dermot played in the Irish Open on three occasions – in 2011, 2012 and 2014. The 2012 event at Royal Portrush remains etched in his memory.
He added; “That was totally different. The crowds, it was like an Open Championship. There was over 100,000 people at Portrush. It was bunged but it was a great experience for me.”
While Dermot is still finding his feet as a professional, his recent performances prove that he is becoming more comfortable playing in the spotlight and he’s excited about getting the chance to compete on a course he has played many times.
He added; “I’m getting used to dealing with cameras and the extra attention you get when you start playing well at an event. It doesn’t really bother me now.
“I also know Portstewart pretty well. I played it a couple of months ago and I noticed some of the new tees they have put in so I’m expecting it to be a good test.
“For me, the week will be about trying to perform as well as I can. Yes, it is a big stage, and there is a lot of money involved, but it is just golf. If I am playing well and am able to play my normal game I don’t see why I can’t do well.”

NI Open embraces change and tweaks format to create Shootout Sunday

March 30, 2017

Ryan Fox plays into the 18th on his way to victory at last year’s NI Open (Photo by PressEye)

It’s all change for this year’s NI Open at Galgorm Castle in the shape of a new format and a new presenting sponsor, Modest! Golf.
Now in its fifth year, the NI Open is one of the best-supported events on the Challenge Tour schedule, both in terms of attendances and depth of field.
This year the NI Open has embraced the European Tour’s vision of introducing fresh new ideas and innovation to professional golf with the introduction of Shootout Sunday.
At this year’s event 156 players will tee it up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut, before a 54-hole cut on Saturday followed by five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what will be a high octane and dramatic #ShootoutSunday.
Note the fact that it is Strokeplay. This tweak sets the event apart from the recent Super 6’s in Perth and ensures that every match will finish on the 18th (see below for full details).
Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey has backed the changes.
“The NI Open comes hot on the heels of the Irish Open and what is being devised here at Galgorm is an exciting new twist which sets it apart from anything we’ve ever had in Northern Ireland,” said Hoey, a five–time European Tour winner, who finished eighth at Galgorm in 2016 behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.

“We have spoken to several players about the change in format, including last year’s winner Ryan, and all agreed that the new format is an extremely exciting new prospect. The NI Open’s unique and innovative strokeplay matches on the Sunday are a first for professional golf and is sure to be a highlight on the global golfing calendar.

Niall Horan and the Modest! team

“The new format is certain to be more entertaining for spectators, especially with holes like the redesigned par three seventh sure to throw up plenty of drama as crowds converge at strategic parts of the course.”
The innovation has also been backed by Mark McDonnell, Director of Modest Golf.
We are delighted to return to the NI Open, this time as Presenting Sponsor. We love working alongside the European Challenge Tour and Galgorm Castle and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before,” he said.
Fellow Modest! Golf Director Niall Horan commented: “We are excited to be returning to the NI Open and introducing a brand new format. Shootout Sunday will be an exciting concept, both for the players and for spectators.”
The NI Open’s exciting new format offers a new dimension that complements the staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart earlier in the holidays.
Interactive and family events will also be on site at Galgorm Castle during the NI Open and one of the province’s sporting highlights will once again have FREE entry for all spectators.

The NI OPEN 2017
Round 1: 156 players begin three rounds of strokeplay
Round 2: 36-hole cut following close of play (Top 60 and ties)
Round 3: 54-hole cut following close of play (Top 24) to include play-off if required
NI Open Shootout Sunday: Five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches
– The top eight players after 54 holes of strokeplay will receive a bye into the second round of matches and will be seeded.
– The remaining 16 players (positions 9-24) will be randomly paired for the first round matches.
– If there are any ties for 24th position, a sudden-death play-off (18th hole) will determine the qualifiers following the completion of 54 holes.
– The losing quarter-finalists will contest matches to determine positions 5-8 and the losing semi-finalists will contest a match to determine 3-4.
-Any matches level after six holes will be determined by playing the 1st hole (rounds one and two) or a shortened version of the 18th hole (quarter finals, semi-finals and final) as a sudden-death play-off hole.

Preparation key to giving yourself a chance at Q-School insists McGeady

November 11, 2016
Michael McGeady

Michael McGeady

The final stage of European Tour Q-school will find you out.
Facing six rounds of pressure-packed golf is not the environment to go searching for a swing.
“You’re under pressure the whole time, it’s pretty stressful,” claimed Michael McGeady recently on the NI Golf Podcast.
Four home golfers – Michael Hoey, Kevin Phelan, Gary Hurley and Ruaidhri McGee – are in Girona, Spain completing their final preparations for the event which gets underway on Saturday [Nov 12] at PGA Catalunya Resort.
“When you get to final stage your game has to be in good shape,” added Michael who turned professional in 2005 and has made 10 trips to Q-School.
“You are playing against guys who have just come off the European Tour and have maybe lost their card by a couple of 100 euro. They have been playing good golf to be in that position.

“So you’ve got to go to tour school prepared. You have to know your yardages and how far you are hitting the ball and your short game has got to be really tight, you have got to hole out well.”

The 38-year-old is living in the North-West and is coaching at the Seamus Duffy Golf Academy (http://www.sdgolf.co.uk/locations.html) while he completes his PGA qualifications.
He retains ambitious to play competitively but added that he really couldn’t justify the expense.
“If you are not doing that [preparing properly]then you are just wasting the entry and it’s not cheap – £1400,” added Michael.
“That’s a lot of money before you look at flights and accommodation. It’s a big expense and it’s not easy to come up with and I always wanted to make sure I was giving myself the best shot getting my card when I made that commitment.”

Episode 14 of the NI Golf Podcast also features  Aimpoint instructor Andrew Norby and Irish panelist Jordan Hood.

Rory McIlroy on the right track with new putting approach

September 9, 2016
Rory McIlroy celebrates Deutsche Bank Championship success

Rory McIlroy celebrates Deutsche Bank Championship success

Rory McIlroy reminded everyone why he remains the most exciting golfer in the world by coming from six shots behind to win the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The 27-year-old turned his 2016 PGA Tour season around in spectacular fashion with a superb performance in Boston that owed everything to finally finding some touch on the greens.
By his own admission Rory’s putting has been poor all summer. He tried a change of grip but that didn’t produce the results he hoped for and then finally, after a ‘pathetic’ display at the US PGA Championship, he sought out a new coach in Phil Kenyon.
Kenyon has worked with the likes of Henrik Stenson and Louis Oosthuizen and now Rory appears to be on the right track having made a slight adjustment to his grip after round one of the Deutsche Bank in Boston.
“I felt on Friday there was a few putts that I missed right, and I felt like my right hand was a little too much on the side of the grip instead of on top of it, so I felt like the clubface was opening just a little bit on my putts and I missed a few right,” said Rory who insisted his putting is still very much a work in progress.

“So the little tweak was I just sort of placed my right hand just a little bit more on top of the grip instead of to the side, helping keep the face square through impact and starting the ball online and it’s helped. It’s a very simple fix.”

Simple it may have been but the Holywood golfer began the tournament ranked 130th in strokes gained putting and 165th in total putting. He finished the week seventh in strokes gained putting and first in putting average.
Which begs a number of questions. How did Rory manage to turn things around so quickly? Is Phil Kenyon some sort of magician and is it simply to do with the fact that Rory switched from using a Nike putter to a Scotty Cameron model?

“Well firstly I’m not overly surprised to see him win because after all, he is Rory McIlroy,” said Greenacres based coach, Johnny Foster.
“When you put Rory’s natural ability with the fact that he has putted well in the past and then add Phil’s new guidance that sort of display isn’t beyond him.”
A member of the Irish Ladies Golfing Union (ILGU) High Performance team, Foster spent some time with Kenyon in the past and has great admiration for the 42-year-old English man.
“I met Phil for the first time about seven years ago. Michael Hoey was good enough to let me come over and spend some time watching them work together,” added Foster.
“He’s a really good guy, intelligent, a very effective coach and now has a stable of world class players.
“He was always ahead of his time, a modern coach who embraced and utilised technology. He almost takes an MRI of what the student is doing on the greens and then builds specific practice drills to address the issues that have been highlighted.”

Donal Scott

Donal Scott

Nor should the change of putter be overlooked as an important element in Rory’s improvement on the greens according to another of the ILGU’s High Performance coaches, Donal Scott.
A putting specialist, Scott believes that a change of equipment can have psychological and practical benefits.
“It varies from player to player but with some people a new putter can significantly change aim,” said Scott who is currently coaching Challenge Tour players Chris Selfridge and Gary Hurley.
“How the player looks down at the putter, the dimensions of it and the head style can have a pretty big impact.”
According to Donal, there’s more to gaining confidence on the greens than simply seeing a few putts holed.
“From my experience with players, the frustration usually comes from not understanding why certain putts are missing,” he said.
“There needs to be a certain level of technical acumen to draw confidence from. Once you understand why certain putts do what they do, that’s when people gain confidence because then they know why a putt has missed and what they need to do to change it.
“I don’t know what Phil and Rory are working on specifically, but I’m sure that having a better understanding of why certain putts react the way they do has given Rory some confidence and that has translated into the performance you saw at the weekend.”