Kevin Phelan sat down with the European Tour to talk about this week's Madeira Islands Open - BPI and the lessons he's learned from ISM stablemate Darren Clarke.
The Ryder Cup is not exactly on the 24-year old's mind but it was heartening to read how much interest the new European skipper showed in some of the younger players in Chubby Chandler's stable and his attention to detail.
Trying to win back the tour card he lost last year, Phelan explained:
“I met Clarkey [at the Beko Classic Pro-Am] in Turkey and had dinner with him at a pro-am there and he’s been very helpful,” said the Waterford native. “There were a couple of young lads from ISM there and he was really helpful and nice with us, giving us advice, so he’s been good.
“He has such a wide knowledge base, he’s been playing for a really long time now and been very successfully all that time so he’s a great lad to know.
“He helped me with my yardage book in Joburg and he’s been really willing to help. It definitely helped me on one of the holes, on one of the par fives where he told me to get past pin high on the green - that was really good to know.
“He gave me a good bit of general advice, that whenever I learn something from certain players, to write it down and take note of everything and that way you can look back on it down the road so I’ve started doing that and that could be very helpful in future.
“He’s the perfect fit for the Ryder Cup captaincy, he’s obviously very willing to help and he has such a good record, individually and in Ryder Cups, he’s been on plenty of winning teams so he knows what he’s doing."
Clarke's advice didn't go amiss as Phelan, the touring professional for Mount Juliet, earned the best European Tour finish of his career three weeks ago at the Joburg Open, where he shared second place with three others, two shots behind winner Andy Sullivan of England.
This week he's joined in Madeira by Peter Lawrie, Ruaidhri McGee, Simon Thornton and Gareth Maybin , hoping to follow in the footsteps of Michael Hoey and Des Smyth and lift the title,