An Interview With: DAVID HOWELL
20 September 2006
SCOTT CROCKETT: David, thanks for coming in to join us. You were just saying you were partnered with Paul Casey.
DAVID HOWELL: We won 1 up, came out all square.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Good fun out there, all of your other teammates are saying you enjoyed it even with the weather.
DAVID HOWELL: We went out today obviously discussing whether it was the right or wrong thing to do with the weather being so bad, but I think we found a little window there where the weather wasn't disastrous. Who knows, it might be like that on Friday anyway. Yeah, good experience and a lot of fun and I think the crowd were obviously delighted to see some golf and we are pleased to see them, as well.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Your own thoughts, David, obviously a successful debut last time, your thoughts going into your second Ryder Cup, the excitement beginning to build as we get near Friday.
DAVID HOWELL: Yeah, excitement and there's always a tinge bit of apprehension as well as to how things are going, but generally excited. Looking forward to hopefully playing a slightly larger role than last time.
But you know, whatever is needed. The main thing is that we keep that beautiful gold trophy here and whatever the captain thinks is what we accept.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that, David. We've got some questions.
Q. Given how well you played last time, you think about the past two years and what impact your play in the Ryder Cup had on you and your career and your golf since then?
DAVID HOWELL: Certainly I think just generally being involved with the Ryder Cup, I came away everybody thinks I played great in the last Ryder Cup. I managed to sneak one point which turned into a fairly crucial one; we didn't know that at the time. I played poorly in the singles, I didn't come away thinking I played just fantastic in the last one.
Moving on from there, my self belief improved. I think I finished third in one of the World Championship events a few weeks later and I've gone onto win three tournaments in that two year period. I certainly always used to look at the members of the Ryder Cup team in a slightly different way on The European Tour, and obviously becoming one of those, I guess I did feel slightly different. And it certainly stood me in good stead.
Q. You and Paul have got a great rivalry going at the top of the Order of Merit at the moment; I think he's just overtaken you.
DAVID HOWELL: I wasn't aware (laughter).
Q. You also seem to make a very good partnership. Could you tell us a little bit about what it is that you feel, why you and Paul make a good partnership?
DAVID HOWELL: Well, we're very comfortable in each other's company. We're vying for the top of the Order of Merit Money List at the moment. We're good friends and I think we've enjoyed playing together. The Ryder Cup experience was something that we'll always have in our memory banks. Fortunately we are going to experience the Ryder Cup again.
We were fortunate of having that experience of winning a point together and we took that into the Seve Trophy last year and I think we managed to win three out of four points together. We're just very comfortable in each other's company, comfortable with each other's games, and I think that just helps. You don't want to be in awe of your partner and you don't want to be certainly don't want to be scared of them or anything. You need to be comfortable, and I think that that's what Paul and I have certainly got. You can see that with the likes of Lee and Darren, and certainly other partnerships over the years.
Q. Do your styles complement each other? Do you let Paul do the attacking or is it a bit of both?
DAVID HOWELL: Well, obviously the circumstances dictate how you're going to play. But Paul is a different player than most of us; he hits the ball so far, so he's a very dynamic player. He hits shots that a lot of people can't hit. But, you know, I don't think it's that so much as we're just very, very comfortable in each other's company.
Q. The four American rookies have been seeking advice left, right and centre about what they can perhaps expect, or expect to expect on Friday or whenever they tee off for the first time. But can anything that you're told beforehand actually prepare you for that moment?
DAVID HOWELL: No. No. Absolutely nothing. It is a different feeling than any other time in your career, and that's a good thing.
That's why the Ryder Cup is just so great. You experience different emotions than you do normally. The only way you can ever describe it, really, that first tee shot is it's only recreated on the 72nd hole of a tournament. I haven't been in that position in a major, but trying to win holing a putt or a very crucial shot on that last hole where the pressure is the most, that's the pressure you feel on Friday morning, and the difference being, obviously, when you're on that 72nd hole, you've been playing great golf and you almost deserve to feel like that.
Friday morning, you're straight out of the box and it comes as, I guess not a shock, but it's hard to cope with. The best thing we did two years ago was watch everybody tee off that first morning, all four rookies last time watched the first eight players go off, and I think only one person hit the fairway, and that certainly calmed us down; we couldn't do any worse than the start players. That was our attitude off that first tee. And sure enough, I think some of us might have done slightly better.
Q. Because these foreign guys are playing an away match as you did two years ago, does that make any difference?
DAVID HOWELL: I don't know how it feels playing at home, so it's hard to comment really. Obviously I've only experienced playing in America.
I don't think that feeling on the first tee is going to be any different whether you're home or away. It's just such a big interest from everybody, the expectations there. Even the crowd are nervous, I think. I don't think that really matters whether you're home or away.
Q. Is it hard at times to focus in on golf with all of the business and hullabaloo that goes on with the Cup?
DAVID HOWELL: No, I don't think so. We all know why we're here. We all care about the Ryder Cup passionately. Obviously the dinners and the media stuff that goes with it do eat into your day. But, you know, Ryder Cup week is not a week for practising anyway. You're all here and you come with your game really, and that's what you've got and you give it your best shot once Friday morning comes around. So I don't think so.
Q. Playing in the Ryder Cup, the emotions are more extreme, intense. Do you sort of go with those emotions or is the secret to try to keep the lid on them?
DAVID HOWELL: Well, I think we've all got our own ways of coping with pressure or anxiety on the golf course. The same rules apply obviously, and it's just to a larger degree, really. We all have our own little keys. Obviously I've got my own; you just try and stay as calm and as focused as possible really. We've played golf in pressurised situations the rest of the year. It's just slightly more pressured for longer here.
We're all used to the feelings to a degree, and you just try to cope the best you can, and the best thing to remember is that you know the other person is feeling it, as well, so it's an even playing field as far as that's concerned.
SCOTT CROCKETT: David, thanks as always for joining us.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.