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   Howeller

The Only Way is Up for Howeller        
It was very interesting to see just how well some of our less frequent visitors to America adapted to the totally alien conditions in Atlanta. The Amex WGC event certainly proved an eye-opener and the one who emerged with the clearest vision was David Howell, who finished a creditable 28th place despite encountering the fastest greens and some of the most penal rough of his career.

Howeller is showing ever increasing signs that he is ready to move up to the next level and it is well within his capabilities to start pushing for a top 50 place in the world rankings. Of more immediate concern is for him to finish in the top 15 in the Volvo Order of Merit because that will automatically ensure he plays in next yearís US Open.   I expect him to be there.

For Mark Foster, the experience proved a daunting one.  It was his first taste of anything like what he encountered and it came as a shock to the system.   In his own words, if heíd had a good week, he could have shot 10 over par.   Thatís how tough he found it. It was valuable experience, however, particularly as he is entered for the US Tour School in November.   It will be very interesting to see how he shapes up and pleasing to see that he is keen to extend his options and expand his repertoire of shots.

A few months ago, Lee Westwood might have settled for 35th among such a high quality field, but now that he has won twice in a month, he will have been disappointed by that finish.  I preferred to look at the first three rounds which showed once again that he is ready to be a major force in the game once more.
Perhaps, or perhaps not, there is another reason that he didnít force his way into the sharp end this time.  In winning at St.Andrews he had had some expert guidance and tuition which wasnít available to him in America.   I am far too modest to reveal the identity of his guru in Scotland.

Darren Clarke stayed over in America and is on duty in Las Vegas, where coach Butch Harmon is based.   I hope Big D has more luck on the fairways than he had on the cityís gaming tables the other night.


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