“The secret is that there is no secret. We should know that by now. Golfers think there’s this ‘Holy Grail’ somewhere, and we’re all searching for it," Michael Hoey told Off The Ball this evening.
He has experienced most things that the professional game can throw at you, from winning five European Tour Events to hopping on cheap flights and searching out Airbnb bargains while battling on the Challenge Circuit.
“I took my chances,” he reflects, talking about those big wins and the yo-yo nature of the sport.
Last year, the 40-year-old finished ranked 25th on the Challenge Circuit from the field of 200 - short of the top-15-cut to secure a full card for the European Tour, but gaining a reduced-playing status to compete at events.
The Northern Irish golfer explained the gap between the lower-tier and main tour events, where thirteen times more money is up for grabs:
"If you finish 30th instead of getting €1,000 that you’d get on the Challenge Tour - you get €13,000 on the European tour. So that can keep you going if you make the cut and play decently."
He believes that the standard is rising all of the time:
“Even in the last five years, I’ve noticed a big difference. A lot of cuts now are -5, -6 on the Challenge Tour - just to get paid €500 for getting last-place if you make the cut."
“The funny thing in pro-golf is, there are no exams for pro-golf. You learn it while you are in it," Hoey said to Joe Molloy.
When asked about the gap between winning European Tour events and battling on the Challenge circuit he told Off The Ball that the margins are small and mainly "mental."
He continued to express his opinion that golfers are prone to experimentation, which can ultimately hurt their performances.
For now, "back to basics" is his approach to refining his game.