Michael Hoey (Getty Images)
Michael Hoey aims to inspire himself with a return to the Home of Golf as he prepares to defend his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The Northern Irishman claimed the biggest win of his career last year at St Andrews in the event where the first three rounds are played on the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, before the field return to the Home of Golf for the final round.
Hoey backed up that display by winning the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco in March, although he has not had a top-20 finish since.
A closing 65 at the BMW Italian Open gave the 33 year old a tied 22nd place finish in Turin a fortnight ago, and Hoey hopes to build on that form.
“My last round of golf was a 65 in Italy, so that was kind of nice to try to that take with me,” he said. “I started putting well, and my swing is always a work in progress - but I feel like I'm closer to swinging the club well - and hopefully I will get inspired by the Home of Golf again, which I did last year.
“I just have to take the positives and Italy was good, so it's all about the putting. That's what I did last year, just putted really well and I feel my putting stroke is a lot better now.
“I just want to be more consistent. Tournaments like this if you're getting in the top ten, you're going to get a lot of World Ranking points and Race to Dubai points. That's the difference between smaller tournaments and bigger tournaments - you want to be able to play well in the big ones, really.”
Hoey also believes the pro-am format can help keep him relaxed, with a host of celebrities taking to the course.
“It's quite cold, so you've got to keep yourself warm and just be patient,” he added. “It's like a marathon, an all day long affair at each course.
“You can take your mind off your own game if you ask a guy about what he does for a living and it's always generally pretty interesting, because the guys are pretty connected. So I find it all interesting.”