About this time of year I sit down with the players and try to piece together their schedules for the following season. As far as David Howell is concerned, it’s been impossible… and I couldn’t be happier.
David’s superb play over the year has meant that he has continually moved the goalposts in terms of what might be happening for him next year. Now he is on the verge of breaking into the top 50 for the first time and that means moving up in class and on to new horizons.
Not just David either. Paul McGinley is in a rich vein of form as is Graeme McDowell and it could be that ISM will have six or seven players operating among the world’s elite and in all the best events week in, week out in the very near future.
David and Graeme have continuously been on the leader board for the last two months and they fully understand what it takes to become one of the world’s top 50.
Graeme is a remarkably quick learner and whatever mistakes he has made this year have only served to make him a better player. Howeller, because of the company he is beginning to keep, is starting to understand just how good a player he is while Paul has the desire that will see him go on to challenge for top honours.
The experience David got last week playing in the last group alongside Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn will have done him no harm at all. He will have gone home on Sunday night with a cheque for nearly £250,000 in his pocket and the knowledge that he can compete in that company.
As for Graeme, not many players catch on as quickly as Lee Westwood did about what you have to do to get to the top. Graeme is one who appears to know and he will have learned as much from finishing runner-up and not quite finishing things off as he has from his two wins in just 26 months as a professional.
These are exciting times for us all and not just David, Graeme and Paul. Their success linked to the vast amounts already achieved by Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood will serve as an inspiration to all.