Swindon pro Howell has his sights on the Ryder Cup
6:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Sport
SWINDON’S David Howell admits he still has Ryder Cup ambitions to fulfil as golfers across Europe begin their bids to make Paul McGinley’s 2014 Gleneagles team today.
Howell was part of Europe’s triumphant teams in 2004 and 2006 but was only an interested spectator for the last three instalments at Valhalla, Celtic Manor and Medinah.
The Broome Manor pro, whose career has been on a significant upward curve this season, is hopeful that he could return to team golf’s greatest competition.
However, he concedes that his world ranking - currently 167 - makes it tricky to gain significant ranking points and therefore earn one of the nine automatic places in the 12-strong team, meaning Hazeltine in 2016 may provide a better opportunity.
“It’s not filling my mind as my first goal for the next 12 months, but it’s also not something that’s beyond the realms of possibility,” said Howell.
“Paul Lawrie qualified last year after a 13-year gap and I certainly think I’m just as good a player as when I played the last two times, I’m just not ranked as highly.
“It will be difficult to qualify for the next one as I’m not really high enough in the world rankings and there’s so much money in the bigger tournaments.
“Qualifying is a different matter from where I am, it’s almost like trying to finish in the top four of the Premiership when you’re in the Championship.
“I’ve got to get up to the next level before I can kick on again, but even if I don’t get to the next one then I can take steps to the one in three years’ time.
“When I turned pro it was my dream to play in a winning Ryder Cup side and I was lucky enough to play in two of them.
“It’s an event I love and one I would love to play in again, but I have to think about getting back into the top 100 and the top 50 first.”
Fresh from a tied-17th finish in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Howell turns his attention to the Wales Open at 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor today.
The Newport tournament offers a rare chance for golf fans in Swindon to get their European Tour fix and Howell expects to be accompanied by a few familiar faces over the next few days.
“We don’t get much golf in these parts, it’s really the only tournament we have to the west of Reading,” he said.
“Certainly for any Swindon golf fans it’s a nice place to come and watch and the forecast is pretty good.
“Some of my friends have already asked for tickets and my dad (Ray) and brother (Ian) will come down for a couple of the days.
“I’m sure a few other faces will come over that I don’t know about yet, so it does feel like a home tournament for me.”
Howell tees off at 8.15am this morning alongside Michael Jonzon and Brooks Koepka.
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