The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is a tournament which has everyone in the world of golf talking, but one player desperately keen not to fit into that category is England’s David Howell.
The four-time European Tour champion and former Ryder Cup player has enjoyed a resurgence in form this season, so much so that his tie for fifth place in last week’s ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia moved him to 64th place in The Race To Dubai and within sight of a place in the coveted top 60.
Should he get there in the remaining tournaments, that would guarantee the 37 year old a debut in the glittering end of season DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, held on the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 22-25.
It will also ensure that Howell – who has a winter home in Dubai – eventually lets his clubs do the talking on the Earth course, rather than giving his expert opinion on events from the Sky Sports TV studio, where he has worked as an analyst on the tournament for the past three seasons.
“Everyone who knows me knows I've really been gunning to get into the DP World Tour Championship this year,” said Howell. “I love working with the Sky boys and I will gladly do it if they ask me but I am a professional golfer and if that was the case, I would still feel I was on the wrong side of the ropes.
“Living just down the road it has been hard the past few years driving into the tournament every day and then going to the TV studio rather than the range, so hopefully I can put that right this year. There is still a bit of work for me to do to get there, but it’s fun trying.
“It was a really good finish in Australia which has helped me gain an entry for the tournament in Singapore in a couple of weeks’ time which is excellent. It was my second best finish in the past couple of years so it was a pretty strong effort – I’m really pleased.”
Another player who has managed what Howell is trying to achieve is Spain’s Alejandro Cañizares who finished third in Perth, the €96,374 cheque he picked up, helping him move from 70th place in The Race to Dubai to 55th. Now, if he can hold that position, he will also qualify for the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, where he finished in 46th place last year.
“The top five finish helped get me into the Singapore tournament which helps a lot,” said Cañizares. “I didn't have that tournament on my schedule before last week because of my ranking so I am more than happy to be able to get there on my own merit. It helps me a lot and gives me one more chance to consolidate my place in the top 60 and hopefully play in Dubai at the end of the year.”
This week’s tournament on The European Tour is the inaugural BMW Masters at the Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai where the star attractions will be nine of the current top ten in The Race to Dubai – Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Branden Grace, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Peter Hanson, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell and Nicolas Colsaerts.