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After a long week in Dubai it is great to become a dad for a second time

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

After a long week in Dubai it is great to become a dad for a second time

Turkish airlines kindly put on a charter for us from Antalya to Dubai, it saved us from flying up to Istanbul. The rich guys mostly took private jets so they didn't have to hang around but there were still some big boys on the charter, Westwood and Donald to name a few.
 They gave players good seats (a premium economy) almost like business class but real business class went to West...

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Wayward shot cost me £40,000 but I'm still looking at the positives

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wayward shot cost me £40,000 but I'm still looking at the positives

I decided to spend 3 days practising at my home away from home in Dubai, on route to China.  The weather gets you adjusted and the global location halves the jet lag to Shanghai.  The facilities at the Butch Harmon School of golf at The Els Club are awesome and it's nice to go back after 6 months away to see the guys who work up there.
 
There is a new evening Emirat...

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A top 10 finish in spite of the weather calling the shots in Portugal washout

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A top 10 finish in spite of the weather calling the shots in Portugal washout

It was a fast turnaround after the Dunhill Links Championship.  The cancellation of the Troon boat meant we weren't home until 11pm.  It was a wild night, and the wind was banging the gate against the house, I didn't get much sleep and was bleary eyed when packing the next morning at 8am. I was disappointed after the final round in St Andrews, my putting had been poor.  I hit th...

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Special times at Dunhill where Wilson's fairy tale steals the show

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Special times at Dunhill where Wilson's fairy tale steals the show

The Dunhill Links Championship is my favourite tournament of the year, not just because I won it but because of the golf courses.  The home of golf is a special place as a golfer and when you twin that with celebrities from the world of sports and business it provides a great atmosphere.
 
We took the car on the boat again; the weather was good on the Monday so the 730a...

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Flight from Geneva to Schiphol was something I will always remember

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Flight from Geneva to Schiphol was something I will always remember

The Champions flight from Geneva to Schiphol was a nice surprise; a press conference at 30,000ft and Joost and Miguel putting down the aisle.  Not your normal flight! I want to get the pics for memorabilia. The older I get the more I'm getting into this kind of stuff, so the tour isn't just a blur, which it can feel like. We also got to keep our warm blue KLM jackets; I'm thinking it's pe...

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After a bit of a break it's a welcome return to golfers, caddies and coaches

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

After a bit of a break it's a welcome return to golfers, caddies and coaches

It was good to join the dysfunctional fraternity of pro golfers, caddies and coaches again.  I had been away for 5 weeks out of the last 6 as I had played in the NI Open, the Challenge Tour event at Galgorm instead of the Italian Open.  Playing Challenge Tour again gave me an appreciation to have Gerry (my caddy) back again and to be thankful that I get to play a game I love for larg...

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Enjoying some home comforts but focus remains firmly on the golf

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Enjoying some home comforts but focus remains firmly on the golf

My week off was spent doing a bit of media and getting organized for the week at Galgorm.  I has a few interviews with local journalists for the papers on Monday, UTV on Tuesday, BBC on Friday and BBC Radio Ulster on Saturday.  It's more media than I normally do!  It's always good to catch up with the guys as I generally only get to see them at the Irish Open!
It feels we...

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Preparations underway for Galgorm after cut mix-up at Denmark event

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Preparations underway for Galgorm after cut mix-up at Denmark event

I think it was the first time in 11 years that a tournament has been held in Denmark.  It's strange since the banks didn't borrow like ours did and the resulting economy has not been hit as hard.  The Danish golfers like Bjorn the 2 Hanson's and Soren Kjeldson are all doing well so the gap has been surprising.
Allborg was tricky to get in and out of (we will talk more about th...

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Open ends in injury disappointment but the bigger picture is still in focus

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Open ends in injury disappointment but the bigger picture is still in focus

On the Wednesday of The Open I decided to focus on the back 9 holes, so I got a car out to the 10th with Johnny Foster and Justin Parsons my 2 coaches.  I was joking saying that I'm special and I need two of them and that I need to have a big entourage, it looks good nowadays!  Randomly I joined young amateur Paul Dunne and Gregory Bourdy.  Paul goes to college in Alabama, Birmi...

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I can't wait for Hoylake - the Open always has a very special feel to it

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

I can't wait for Hoylake - the Open always has a very special feel to it

It was nice to get into my own bed for a couple of nights after the French, the direct flight to Belfast on Sunday night was ideal and qualifying for The Open Championship was a bonus and exciting.  It was a whirlwind couple of days at home; unpacking, packing, seeing parents but there are many lows in pro golf and fewer highs so it's nice to get one.
 
The flight from ...

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Hard week at Le Golf National earns dream Open Championship berth

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Hard week at Le Golf National earns dream Open Championship berth

The more experienced players know that everything about the French Open apart from the course is a struggle.   The hotels are massively overpriced the aircon doesn't work, food is difficult and the people can be rude.

My first year in 2006 it was 35 degrees and about 25 at night in the onsite Novotel.  It didn't have aircon and we dripped all week.
I payed a bit m...

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A good week in Germany sets the tone to knuckle down and make the Open

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A good week in Germany sets the tone to knuckle down and make the Open

After the hype of the Irish it was back to business again in Germany.  I wanted my own bed for a night and we made it back from Cork with only one stop for Erin in 5 hours.  Monday was a haircut and packing fresh clothes for the drive down to Dublin to overnight it and take the 7am to Dusseldorf. 
 
Bev dropped me to Dublin and we watched Holland win their gam...

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Strong Sunday performance at Fota Island gets the adrenalin pumping

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Strong Sunday performance at Fota Island gets the adrenalin pumping

The journey to Cork is a lot easier these days. I remember going to the Munster youths in the late 90s and the road taking so long that we got 2 trains via Dublin and taxis instead of driving.  This time we stopped in City West just outside Dublin with Erin for some food.  It was a chance for her to wriggle around; being stuck in the car seat in hot weather is not much fun!  The...

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Thoughts turn to Irish Open after frustrating tournament in Austria

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Thoughts turn to Irish Open after frustrating tournament in Austria

My last minute decision to play in Austria meant the only available flight got me in late and after tournament transport finished on Monday night.  It was 1230am by time I got to the hotel, the joys of tour.   I hadn't seen the course before so on Tuesday I played 9 but was careful not to do too much as I was a bit tired as it was my fourth week competing in a row.  I was i...

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Another top 20 finish was a good way to end what was a positive week

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Another top 20 finish was a good way to end what was a positive week

The players all look forward to this event, probably because there are a lot of attractive blondes in town and at the golf course. Golf is really popular in Sweden and there was a strong field; Henrik Stenson was the star player.  He had a chance to get to world no. 1 if he won so the anticipation from the home fans was high.
 
We flew from Heathrow to Copenhagen in Denma...

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After Wentworth the focus switches to Sweden and some ranking points

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

After Wentworth the focus switches to Sweden and some ranking points

Wentworth is a big week, it's the flagship event of the European Tour and probably also the real start of the golfing season in Europe. All the coaches, managers, sponsors and media gather at this event so it's unusually busy and feels quite claustrophobic.  I arrived on Sunday night but picked Bev and Erin up from Heathrow on Monday at lunchtime.  We got into our apartment at about ...

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Not for the first time I failed to make the cutt at Spanish Open

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Not for the first time I failed to make the cutt at Spanish Open

It was a much easier journey to this week's event, just one 2hr flight to Barcelona from Belfast and then a 1hr drive to the course close to Girona.   What a difference it makes compared to the 24hr journeys earlier in the year.

Liz Maybin, Gareth's wife and son Reeve were on my flight and I gave them a lift to the course.  I know what it's like with all the bags, cots, ...

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A welcome break with family before Spain trip and three weeks on road

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A welcome break with family before Spain trip and three weeks on road

We (Gerry and I) were lucky to fly the Airbus A380 from Hong Kong to Dubai; it's so quiet that you can sleep for most of the 8hr 30.  When we got to Dubai Gerry asked for an exit row to Dublin, instead they upgraded him to business, lucky boy.  Emirates are good at looking after frequent flyers; we spend so much money with them they upgrade us a lot.  I was flying to Birmingham,...

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Planes, trains, boats and trams but well worth it for a top 10 finish

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Planes, trains, boats and trams but well worth it for a top 10 finish

The trip from Hong Kong airport to Longang district Shenzhen, was more complicated than I thought.  I was meant to share a cross border car with camera man Ian who was on a flight 1hour behind me from Kuala Lumpur. Our flight was delayed 1hr 30 so I thought by the time I arrived I wouldn't have to wait long for Ian.  I got a bite to eat in a familiar spot in arrivals, time passed and...

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Burning up on the course in the heat & humidity of Malaysia

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Burning up on the course in the heat & humidity of Malaysia

Our Emirates flight arrived into KL late on Sunday evening, by the time we got through passport control and got the golf clubs it was 11pm but only 7 in Dubai as we were 4 hours east.  It always takes so much longer when you travel with clubs to get out of the airport! Obviously the baggage handlers all try and avoid the heavy bags, not that I'd blame them!

Transport from the tour...

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After a short break its back down to business and a trip to Morocco

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

After a short break its back down to business and a trip to Morocco

It was only a short week at home, the first since the Christmas break and 6 days later I was leaving again.  It can be hard to maintain relationships when you travel so much and it can throw you off, sometimes you feel abnormal like you don't fit in to society. 

I have great memories going to the Kings Course in Agadir, as I won it 2years ago.  It was the best golf I've ...

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Second place in South Africa before home for a while then off to Morocco

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Second place in South Africa before home for a while then off to Morocco

I dropped off my rental car to George airport on Monday morning getting ready for the flight to Johannesburg.  It's a good distance, approx 1200km some of the guys drive it, certainly the club fitter does and one of the caddys drives a van with our clubs, he charges by distance so this time it was approx 30 pounds, still buttons compared to Europe where its 90 euro.   It saves u...

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South Africa is beautiful but I wish my golf game had been as pretty

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

South Africa is beautiful but I wish my golf game had been as pretty

As soon as play was finished in East London I went to the airport to pick up a rental car for the 620km drive to George in the Eastern Cape.  It was either fly up to Joburg, stay over night and fly down to George on Monday or do the drive and stop in Port Elizabeth which is about half way along the coast.  It was a goodbye to Audrey and Ken at the hotel, they enjoyed their trip, apar...

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Tough time on the greens makes for frustrating weekend in East London

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tough time on the greens makes for frustrating weekend in East London

I was surprised by how hot it was in East London when I arrived on Monday.  It was the first time in 4 years I had played the tournament and I had some good memories.  I finished 2nd to Goosen when it was just a Sunshine Tour event in 2009.  I quite liked the old fashioned course, links layout in the sand dunes but with softer grasses that can survive in this heat.
 ...

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Frustration on the fairways in Turin then travel trials on the way home

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Frustration on the fairways in Turin then travel trials on the way home

I hadn't touched a club in over a week and felt I was ready to get back out and play again.  The trip over from Zermatt was a little longer than anticipated on the train but it was relatively straightforward, the only problem being the number of bags we had to lug about!  Thankfully Bev had convinced me to travel Sunday, initially I had wanted to go Monday but in hindsight the ...

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Time off offers the chance to hit the heights with a trip to Zermatt

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Time off offers the chance to hit the heights with a trip to Zermatt

I took a week off to work on my fitness this week.  There was an event in Holland on a links course that I really enjoy playing but it would have been 6 weeks in a row for me had I played in it.  I find I play my best golf if I limit the number of events to three in a row, so unfortunately I had to miss the event in Holland.  Instead we headed to Zermatt for a week of hiki...

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Planes, trains and automobiles on visit to pituresque Switzerland

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Planes, trains and automobiles on visit to pituresque Switzerland

No other tournament on the European Tour has been hosted at the same venue for as long as the one in Crans sur Sierre.  This gives the event a special history and feel combined with its location in the Swiss Alps and the unique style of the course it really is a special week! It was my 6th visit to the event. It's one of those courses where course knowledge is a real advantage.&nbs...

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I am disappointed to miss the cut on home soil, but what an event

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

I am disappointed to miss the cut on home soil, but what an event

It was a hardship to turn up to Galgorm Castle Golf Club on Monday to pick up my car for the week - a £180k Lamborghini superlegurra.  It's every boy's fantasy come true, and one of my all time goals!  Cars on Demand, a local super car experiences company were sponsoring the NI Open at Galgorm for the week, they had previously sponsored the Europro event the club had hosted ov...

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NI League table has become more competitive than ever

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

NI League table has become more competitive than ever

My week started with a few administrative tasks, family stuff that couldn't wait.  The most important of which was to go to Belfast City Hall and register the birth of Erin.  Bev had decided we needed to get the birth certificate underway so that we could apply for Erin's first passport as soon as possible; we're planning on attending the tournament in Switzerland in September ...

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Busy week at Carton House ends with deserved win for Paul

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Busy week at Carton House ends with deserved win for Paul

It was a busy week at the Irish Open with the Open Qualifier at Sunningdale happening on the Monday.  I finished the qualifier at 3pm, having played 36 holes, my first round started at 6:57 and then my "late" round started at 11:30.  I was able to get the 6pm flight back to Belfast, and met up with my father-in-law at Heathrow on the way home, he'd been over in London on busine...

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A few weeks off and a welcome new addition to the Hoey household

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A few weeks off and a welcome new addition to the Hoey household

I've had the last five weeks at home in Belfast.  I haven't played on Tour since the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth at the end of May.  I'd taken the time of to try and adjust to the dietary changes the Doctor in London had recommended I make, to follow up on a few other health issues and to get ready to be a Dad.  The original plan had been to play as much golf, and m...

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I'm looking forward to getting back on Tour but my diets not the best

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

I'm looking forward to getting back on Tour but my diets not the best

I had a busy week off this week.  It started with a trip to London to visit a nutritionist.  It was a follow up appointment to receive my results and be given the list of foods I was to exclude from my diet.  I thought there would be a few foods I was going to have to try and avoid but I wasn't prepared for the list of them I actually have to exclude.  The most incon...

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Antenatal classes and unpacking boxes make it an eventful week "off"

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Antenatal classes and unpacking boxes make it an eventful week "off"

I was a little jet lagged when I got home at about 830pm on Saturday night.  I arrived into Belfast in shorts, t-shirt and a jumper and collected quite a few odd stares - mind you that often happens when you have your large golf Tour bag with you; it can look like you're transporting something very suspicious in it!  I was freezing cold as I walked out to the car park to meet ...

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Travelling in style with Travis as ideal company on the way to Beijing

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Travelling in style with Travis as ideal company on the way to Beijing

We constantly seem to be getting on long haul flights to tournaments these days; it's a long trip out to China for 1 week.  The Tour had been in South Korea the week before for an event and most of the guys had gone there straight from Spain.  When we'd looked at the flights getting from Valencia on Sunday night to Seoul was difficult!  Most folk weren't arriving into the...

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A little domesticity before packing the bags and flying off to Beijing

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A little domesticity before packing the bags and flying off to Beijing

It was a very normal week at home between the Open de España and heading out to China.  We are currently moving house and the majority of the week was taken up with trivial items relating to that.  We've moved three times in the last year, once to Ascot, once from Ascot and once from Templepatrick.  This is the first time I've had to do any of the heavy lifting myself, Bev...

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Early season pain in Spain as the long haul trips loom large again

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Early season pain in Spain as the long haul trips loom large again

It was nice to be heading to Europe for this week's event, it was the first time we've had a tournament this close to home since Portugal in October last year.  Everything since then has involved a long haul flight and has been a long way from home, even our next two events take us to South Korea and then China.


It's a little different when you get to the airport tr...

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No time for a break as time off turns into a whirlwind couple of days

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

No time for a break as time off turns into a whirlwind couple of days

It was a long journey home from Morocco and it took me a few days to recover from it.  Bev collected me on Tuesday morning in Dublin after I'd been travelling for about 25 hours via Dubai.  When we'd booked the flights we'd intended to have our base already set up in Dubai, it hasn't really worked out that way and so I ended up taking the flights to get the air miles.  It ...

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No win but signs of progress in Morocco

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

No win but signs of progress in Morocco

I had a bit of an unconventional trip to Morocco this year.  I was starting from Dubai and not the UK for one thing, so I missed out on the charter flight the sponsors provide to the event.  I also had suffered from the norovirus during the week in Dubai.  After 2 days of being seriously ill, I was ready to leave the UAE behind.  It's unusual for me to be ill for that...

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Getting the Champion's Treatment in Morocco

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Getting the Champion's Treatment in Morocco

I was just congratulating myself for not having picked up Delhi belly during the tournament when I made a bit of a school boy error at the airport.  I was starving by the time the Emirates car had transported me from the hotel to the airport and the smoked salmon, salad and curry in the Emirates lounge were just too much to resist!  Unfortunately they left me feeling a little g...

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Focus on practice ahead of Morocco defence

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Focus on practice ahead of Morocco defence

The golf course was located in a new area of Delhi, on the outskirts of the old city, about one and a half hours into the centre of town.  It seems a lot of the developing nations are starting to try to develop new more modern cities on the doorstep of the older ones.  It was a great spot, the real estate was just a little pricey and it felt a little like a ghost town compared...

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A putter should be swung, not anchored

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A putter should be swung, not anchored

It was a strange week in Tshwane.  I've played quite a few times in Johannesburg over the years and it's always been hot and stormy.  We generally have thunder delays in the afternoons and the heat dissipates after the storm.  It wasn't the case in Tshwane this week.  The heat just kept building.  I've never played in altitude, 1800m (above sea level) at 36⁰C bef...

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Early omens are not good ahead of Tshwane

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Early omens are not good ahead of Tshwane

Bev and I had a mad dash to Dublin on Tuesday morning; we'd left the house by 8am to get down to the Indian Embassy by 9:30/10.  I need a Business Visa to travel to the Avantha Masters in the middle of March and this was the only time I could actually go and get it underway.  Bev had filled in the paperwork (there are 2 forms), got the bank draft, made sure I had some passport...

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Taking full advantage of home comforts

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Taking full advantage of home comforts

Jet lag is always one of those things you encounter when you do some long haul travel.  Dubai is 4 hours ahead so it means you go to bed and get up really early.  I was in bed at 8pm for the first few days and up again by about 6:30am.  It's amazing how much you can get fitted into a day when you start that early!  It's just as well as we had so much post to go throu...

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Early exit but some welcome time off.......

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Early exit but some welcome time off.......

It was disappointing to miss the cutt by one shot in Dubai, but I'd been encouraged by the number of good shots I'd hit during the second round of 71.  It's always a little frustrating when you miss by only one shot as you tend to overanalyse your rounds using the "if only" mentality which doesn't really help you learn or achieve a lot!  Someone once told me that in golf you ar...

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Newsletter column week 39 Dubai

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Four weeks on the road takes its toll in Dubai

Many of the guys left Qatar on Sunday night but we decided to spend an extra night and leave at lunchtime Monday.  I'm not great at getting up early to fly but late Sunday night we decided to try and change to the 9am flight.  We were travelling with Emirates and since I hold their highest traveller loyalty status they tend to be very helpful.  I managed to get us onto the...

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Newsletter week 38 Qatar

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

They do things differently in Qatar

Qatar is the richest country in the world per head of capita and a place I like to visit.  We used to stay in the 4 seasons, which was my favourite hotel in the Middle East swing until last year when I got food poisoning.  This year we were staying in another St Regis hotel.  The group sponsored the tournament in Abu Dhabi as well, and we had high expectations…….unfortunat...

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Newsletter column week 37

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

No ice in Abu Dhabi but beware slippert tiles

The hotels in the Middle East are always extremely good.  For the last few years we've stayed at the Emirates Palace Hotel free of charge but this year the St Regis hotel were to be our hosts.  It's a brand new hotel out on Saadiyat Island.  It's a new development area of Abu Dhabi complete with golf course right on the beach, lots of huge villas, apartments and the hotel ...

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Volvo Golf Champions, Durban

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Volvo event ideal preparation for Middle East stage

Our journey to South Africa was a little disjointed, we were meant to leave Mahe and fly to Dubai then change flights and fly straight down to Johannesburg.  Unfortunately our first flight was so late that by the time we reached Dubai our second flight was already on its way to Johannesburg.  Emirates had already rebooked us onto the early morning flight the following day but w...

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DP World

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Looking forward to some family time

The Race to Dubai ends with the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.  This is a massive tournament for the European Tour, the prize fund is up to $8m and all the top guys compete.  To be eligible to play in the field you have to be in the top 60 on the money list before the event.  Even though I'd missed Hong Kong I was still in the top 60 and was ...

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Hong Kong Open

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Break grants chance to take in the sights

The Doctor had advised no seriously long haul trips until my ear was feeling better, so Bev and I decided to head to Hong Kong for a few days even though I wasn't playing in the tournament.  All our onward travel was booked from there and the weather in Singapore was so stifling I didn't think I would recover quickly staying where we were.  We thought we were booked on the Mon...

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Barclays Singapore Open

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Illness and storm delays eventually take their toll

Singapore is a great city, they call it the Switzerland of Asia - it's clean and expensive, with good food, hotels and nightlife.  Sentosa Island is a little like Singapore's Disney land and the Sentosa Golf Course is fantastic.  It's a great course, the field is always strong and the huge prize fund always makes for a great week!  The only problem is the weather, its mon...

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Thailand

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Weeks break before a hectic period begins

When I was leaving Shanghai late Sunday night I was still fourth reserve for the WGC HSBC Champions event in Shenzhen.  I only had a single entry visa for China and didn't think anything of it as I got on the plane to Bangkok ready to meet Bev.  She flew out from London on Saturday afternoon and was in an airport hotel waiting for me to arrive in the very early hours of the mo...

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BMW Masters

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Rory, I will buy your house at the right price!

It's a long way to China so I decided to leave early and stop in Dubai for a couple of days on the way.  The practice facilities and climate away from summer in Dubai are fantastic.  There are quite a few NI pros working out there at the big clubs.  2 of them - Justin Parsons and Neil Graham let me use the facilities at the Butch Harman golf academy and the Jumeriah Golf ...

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Portugal Masters

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Diagrams are a golfers best friend on the greens

We flew to Faro on Monday afternoon from Gatwick.   It gave us time to unpack and repack after the Dunhill, a little more time than planned but these things happen.  The airline didn't charge too much excess baggage this time so we were lucky.   A tour bag with shoes and a few spare clubs can weigh in at 28kg; the excess baggage can often be more than the price ...

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Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Good things lie around the corner..............

The Dunhill week is always a little different from all the others on tour.  There are 3 courses to practice and prepare on, with a large field, and then there are the amateurs as well.  This is one of the only events we play in which the amateurs get to play alongside us as we compete.  It's a unique event and most players really enjoy it.  You feel good playing with...

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Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Quality time with friends and family

We hadn't been home to Northern Ireland since March, apart from the Irish Open which doesn't really count as it was a work week.  I was really looking forward to getting home to see friends and family.  Trying to keep up with everyone can be difficult when you travel so much.  The travel also means you don't get to drive your car much.  A road trip was a great way to...

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BMW Italian Open

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Quality time with family and friends

The traffic on the M3 was terrible as we left Ascot on our way to Gatwick on Monday morning.  Rush hour traffic has normally cleared by 10am but there had been an accident and that snarls everything up.  We always leave a bit of extra time for the 45 minute drive down to Gatwick to allow for the roads in England as you just never know what they'll be like.   Thankfull...

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Zermatt

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Hornlihutte will have to wait....now for Turin

When we arrived in Zermatt the first person we bumped into was the golfer Pablo Martin.  We were leaving the train station heavily laden with all our bags and he had just dropped a Spanish friend to the train home.  It was a little surreal - both of us standing looking at the other, thinking I recognize you, who are you? then the penny clicked and it was like hey I work with y...

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Omega European Masters

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Snow joke for competitors at Crans Montana

Crans Montana in Switzerland is definitely the nicest place in terms of scenery that we visit all year.  It's a bit of a trip though, taking approximately 3 hours from Geneva airport on the train and then switching to a courtesy car to get up the mountain.  The village is at 1500m so it takes about half an hour going up the windy road with lots of hairpin turns, not for those ...

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Johnny Walker Championship

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Missed cutt at Gleneagles difficult to swallow

I didn't write a column last week as I was suffering so badly from jet lag that I didn't do very much.  I decided one column for the 2 weeks would cover everything!


The jet lag coming back from the USA was bad, I have full admiration for Luke Donald, Rory, Padraig and all the others who play both sides of the Atlantic week in week out.  I found it was impossi...

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US PGA Championship

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Indigestion as the reality of an honest mistake hits home

We landed in Charleston, arriving from Chicago at 1pm on Monday, at roughly the same time the other guys had flown from Akron via Washington.  It was slightly bizarre meeting up with everyone again at the airport even though they hadn't been on our flight!  Just beside the baggage reclaim was the PGA travel desk.  All I had to do was hand over my driver's licence and sign...

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WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

It's really great to be mixing it with the best

When you win a big tournament on the European Tour which has a lot of World Ranking Points you get invites to some of the World Golf Championship events.  I'd attended the WGC event in Shanghai at the end of last season and also received an invite to the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club for this season through wining the Dunhill Links Championship last season.&nbs...

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Week off between the Open and WGC

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Lots of hard work as the excitment builds to Akron

I was more motivated than I'd anticipated after my performance at the Open.  The 2 days with Jamie on the range up at Royal Lytham had really given me a sense of what I could achieve if I just worked hard enough on the right stuff so Bev and I spent Monday through Thursday practically living at the golf course.  We arrived early each morning and left late each afternoon, somet...

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The Open at Royal Lytham and St Anne's

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Birdie was great and I broke 80

We drove up to Blackpool from London on Monday morning taking 4 and a half hours in horrendous wet weather.  The spray was really awful, complete white out on the road and people were still doing 90 without their lights on! I was thinking it was going to be a long wet week and was hoping we'd enough wet gear with us.


I had a new set of irons that I needed regripping...

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HOliday in Spain

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Sunshine break perfect preparation for the Open

It's never great when you arrive home on a Saturday; you know the week didn't go according to plan when you do.  We'd driven back home in the rain and had got soaked out on Tour for the last 3 weeks so I decided a few days in the sunshine was what I needed to try and help me relax before the preparations for the Open began in earnest.  Bev looked up last minute flights and hote...

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Open de France

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Paris was worth the trip if only to enjoy the drive

I had been looking forward to taking my car to France all year.  Pro Golfers don't get to drive their own cars to tournaments all that often (maybe twice a year) and because it's still a relatively new car to me I was looking forward to taking it to France where speeding points don't necessarily go on your British licence.


It's a 2 hour drive to Folkestone then yo...

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Irish Open

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Proud to be playing on home soil

We travelled over to Belfast on Monday morning.  I had only been home 1 week since Christmas so I was really excited to see family and friends before competing in the Irish Open.  In London people don't know each other like they do in Northern Ireland as there are so many and it can be a lonely place.  I'm still trying to get used to it.


My accommodation...

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US Open Week

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

GMAC shines but I was surprised by Rory

We arrived back from Sweden on Saturday night; the tournament had started on Wednesday to enable some of the players to make the long journey to San Francisco in time for the US Open.  Some of the Swedes, Alex Noren and Peter Hanson were going. 


Westwood had given us all a ball striking display at Bro Hoff Slott and didn't even putt great to win by 5 shots; I ...

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Nordea Masters Sweden

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Getting in the groove for a hectic period

Like the Irish Open and Wentworth the Nordea Masters is one of the best supported tournaments on the European Tour.  The crowds are massive, noisy and knowledgeable - they love their golf.


I needed to make a cut after the disappointment of Wentworth, Wales and Seville but I knew the course suited me and that my game wasn't in too bad a shape.  I finished 14th...

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ISPS Wales Open

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Golf can be a funny old game at times....

Monday was the 36 hole qualifier for the US open at Walton Heath for anyone not in the World Top 60.  I decided to skip it as I have a lot of golf coming up and should I have qualified I would probably have missed 3 European Tournaments in the run up to the Irish Open.  I'd love to play in the US Open but with this year's event being in California, the possibility of missing so...

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BMW PGA Championship

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A case of staying focused and staying on course

The week at Wentworth is always long and busy.  There are interviews as all of the golf media assemble for the flagship event on the European Tour.  It's probably the first time this year that most of the top names attend, other than Abu Dhabi.


On Monday I felt a bit fluey.  Last week had been busy for me with friends and family coming and going for the r...

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Heniken Cup final week

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

No more distractions as Wentworth arrives

It just didn't want to stop raining the week before the BMW PGA Championship which is not ideal practice for one of the biggest events of the season but what can you do?  I focused almost exclusively on the drills my coach had given me during the week; trying to concentrate on taking the club away on the outside, then filming a few to look at and plenty of putting drills.  I c...

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Walking in Zermatt

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hill walking helps me chill out

It can be tough to fill your off time as a pro golfer if you don't have other interests.  For many years I'd been entirely golf centered - my hobby had become my job - and I had no balance to life.  Something else is necessary to take your mind away from the bad times just like with any other job.  Over the past 2 years I've started to read and hike and over the last year ...

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Spanish Open

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

I have better memories of Seville

It's a bit of a trip to Seville; you either fly to Malaga or Faro and then drive about two and a half hours from either airport.  We chose Malaga due to flight times from Gatwick.  Seville is probably my favourite destination on the Tour.  It's a very picturesque city with lots of narrow cobbled streets, an amazing Cathedral and a Moorish Royal Palace.  It's also whe...

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Week off after China

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Little Merc's timely arrival brightens a dull weekend

Unpublished article

It's always a long trip home from China.  I took the 8 hour Emirates flight to Dubai on Sunday night followed by the 7 hour flight to Heathrow.  Both flights were on A380s, my favourite aircraft. It's so spacious and quiet making the journey a little nicer.  A few other players were sitting in the lounge in Dubai chatting between flights. ...

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Volvo China Open

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

I covered my costs - but only just!

I took the 6 hour nighttime flight from Kuala Lumpar to Beijing on Sunday night arriving at 6:30am Monday morning.  The Courtesy Car picked Jamie Gough, my coach, and I, up from the airport for a 2 hour drive to the hotel in Tianjin.  I hadn't heard of the city prior to the tournament schedule being released but 12 million people live there and it has been designated a free bu...

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A frustrating week but lessons learned

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A frustrating week but lessons learned

Getting to Malaysia is always long trip; it took 13 hours going via Dubai with Emirates.  I'd decided to travel through Dubai partly because of the great service onboard Emirates but mainly because of the Sunday night flight from Beijing following the Volvo China Open.  It's a great feeling knowing you're on the way home when the tournament finishes on the Sunday. The new A380 ...

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A busy week of work outs and cheering others on

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A busy week of work outs and cheering others on

We travelled back to our new English base from Belfast on Sunday evening, arriving in Heathrow about 9pm expecting our car to be delivered to the front door of the Terminal. The European Tour has a great deal with one of the valet parking services and now we've moved to England we make full use of the service. Unfortunately 3 calls and 50 minutes later our car was still nowhere to be see...

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Victory followed by mayhem!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Victory followed by mayhem!

Whenever you win a professional tournament the high is quickly followed with busy times and lots of media. Even feeling like a celebrity for a few days. The charter flight back from Morocco, kindly put on by the tournament took us to London Gatwick. The spoils of winning meant we got upgraded to business - happy days and the front row of the plane! The trophy was a jewel encrusted dagge...

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Playing with Royalty in Morocco

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Playing with Royalty in Morocco

We arrived into Morocco directly from Malaga after the Open de Andalucía. The tournament chartered a flight for the Tour as Agadir is a difficult location to get to. We rented a car, definitely an experience, especially when starting in the dark and set of following sat-nav to the villa we'd rented for the week. It should have taken 20 minutes but took us nearly an hour! ...

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