A LATE trip to see his London-based chiropractor means David Howell will only touch down in South Africa 24 hours before he is due to resume his European Tour campaign, but the Swindon golfer is still confident of success at the Tshwane Open.
Howell was due to jet out to Centurion on Monday and spend the best part of three days preparing for his first event in almost a month at the Copperleaf Golf and County Estate but instead flew into England to have a specialist run the rule over stiffness in his back.
The Broome Manor pro stressed that he did not consider himself injured, however, and after pitching up in South Africa for the same tournament late last year and finishing in a tie for 10th, he’s adamant that his delayed arrival will not affect his chances.
“I was due to fly to South Africa on Monday after three weeks off but I wasn’t feeling great, to be honest, and I think it was down to not seeing my regular chiropractor who I see when I’m in London,” Howell told the Advertiser.
“I made the decision to come over and get seen and make sure everything was alright before going out there and I had to make the decision whether to play in the tournament as planned or not.
“It’s such a quiet time of year that I thought it was best to be getting out there and having a go. I turned up there on Wednesday morning last year and got in the top 10 so there’s no reason why I can’t do that again.
“My back ceased up for a little bit for whatever reason.”
Howell’s last taste of competitive action came in the Dubai Desert Classic over the first weekend of this month, where he failed to make the cut, and the former Ryder Cup star wasn’t about to let his back prevent him from getting back on the course.
“I’ve always liked to play and it was always my plan to play this week,” he said. “I set out my early-season schedule towards the end of last year and I was always going to play this event and not the other two in South Africa. It’s just taken a bit of extra effort to stick to that schedule.
“I’ll just end up getting a different flight and missing the pro-am, so it’s not that bad to be honest.
“It’s a big, South African golf course. We play at altitude there and, while it’s seven or eight thousand yards long, the altitude brings it back down to earth.
“There’s plenty of room and I played pretty well there last year when I went there. If you were ever going to pick a long-hitter’s course this would be it but that doesn’t mean it’s not unplayable.”