That'll Do Nicely for Howeller
David Howell has been around for so long it is easy to lose sight of the fact that he is still just 28 years old and still some way from the peak of his powers. The 1999 Dubai Desert Clasic, shortly after he'd won the Australian PGA Championship, looked like being his springboard to European Tour prominence, but it didn't quite work out that way.
The trouble is, although I wouldn't quite go so far as believing that he is a relative of Frank Spencer, Howeller has definitely been accident prone.
Ankle ligament damage - the legacy of a slip playing tennis - were
followed by a broken arm and shoulder problems - the former sustained when tripping over a shoelace while out jogging. But if Howeller can avoid walking under any ladders or running over a
black cat, I think he can turn out to be a more consistent visitor to the winner's circle.
The portents are good. He is in a rich vein of form at the moment and looking like the birdie machine he can be on a regular basis. Recent results have seen him leap into the Volvo Order of Merit top 20, which has guaranteed an invite into next week's Amex WGC event in Atlanta.Playing in all the world's top events - and I mean the world not just Europe - is what I would hope all our players aspire to and I know Howeller isn't averse to stretching out on a Jumbo for a long-haul flight. Getting into the Amex will have done Howeller's confidence no end of good and I really do believe he can kick on again from here and turn the potential of being a world class performer into reality.
Now that Darren Clarke is in contention just about every time he steps on the course, Lee Westwood being not far off back to his best and Paul McGinley getting back on track, I do expect something special from one or two of our boys every week and Howeller may just about ready to take that next step up the ladder.
It might not be this week in St.Andrews because, although Clarkey will always be a threat in a links environment, I have a sneaking feeling that Andrew Coltart may just be ready to turn his year's consistency into a win.
Whether or not I can be an inspiration to Lee John Westwood this week remains to be seen, but I'm looking forward to dusting off the clubs this week for the Dunhill Links. Watch this space for news of what happened.
Hopefully it will make for pleasant reading.