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October 4, 2005

David Howell

Harding Park Golf Course, San Francisco, California

Q. How's the jet lag? Are you feeling in good shape?

DAVID HOWELL: Yeah, I slept well last night, stayed up until 10:00, got that out of the way and then had a good workout when I got here, so I'm looking forward to getting out and seeing how things are.

Q. Have you heard anything about the course?

DAVID HOWELL: I saw a snippet on TV last night on the local news. I think Jim Furyk was saying he played the back nine and it was good. It certainly looks like a pleasant place. We're playing in fantastic conditions, so we'll see. It's supposed to be windier by the shore here, obviously, so there will be a bit of a breeze during the week, which will make things interesting.

Q. How is your form? How did you play last week?

DAVID HOWELL: Good. I hit the ball very well. Funny week, really. I almost expected to do a bit better, obviously, after leading the first day. I've always played so well on those links courses up there this time of year, so I was surprised the way things turned out. But I didn't really hole any putts for a couple of days. And then lost my momentum a little bit and then had a disaster finish at Kingsbarns on the last hole there on Saturday afternoon, which really took me out of the tournament in terms of winning or a really high finish.

Then I struggled a little bit on Sunday mentally. It's the first time for a while that I've played, and I was just playing for money rather than the challenge of really seeing how I could finish. Nice that that took me by surprise a little bit. It may be a tad unprofessional. I tried to go a bit gung ho on Sunday and hit driver everywhere and really try and shoot 65, but it didn't quite pan out. But that's not a bad thing. The fact, I was just looking for a really good finish is promising whereas before I've been grinding for every shot for the money and I don’t do that anymore

Q. It's a sign of the times and how things have changed, and you are looking for wins

DAVID HOWELL: Absolutely. 37th last week, there's never any disgrace. If that's a bad week, then that's fantastic. It just goes to show if your mind is really not on the job, you can't take anything for granted in this game. Maybe after my first round, maybe I just had the complacency that it was going to be another good week without really fighting for it. So lesson learned there, that's for sure.

Q. As for the rest of the season, you have quite a few big events coming up. What's the goal?

DAVID HOWELL: Obviously just keep going as I am, but it would be nice to have a big finish in a couple of big events for Order of Merit or the Ryder Cup as the season comes to a close there, here, the Volvo Masters and China. If I could have one or two big finishes and really take a chunk out of the Ryder Cup qualification before winter break, that would be great. Obviously if one of those was a win, then superb. I need to keep my foot on the pedal and not let the year drift off quietly.

Q. Do you think along the lines of Order of Merit or anything like that, because obviously that was something early on in the year that you missed a big chunk and you sort of fought your way back into it again?

DAVID HOWELL: Obviously I'm quite a long way behind Monty and Michael, but as Monty proved last week, if you win one and if I was to win this week then I'd be right in with a shout with the Volvo Masters coming. So I'm not sat in my hotel room thinking about how I'm going to win the Order of Merit. I'm more concerned with how I'm going to play. But should it come to the Volvo Masters and I'd be in with a shout, and if I was to win and I was in touching distance, that would be very exciting.

Q. Obviously this could be a big week.

DAVID HOWELL: Absolutely. These are massive events that are very top heavy, as well. So everyone comes away with much the same unless you play really well which is the way it should be, and obviously it rewards excellence these weeks. There's a lot of money at the top of these events. I’ve done well in these I finished third in this event last year, and the last time I played a World Tour event I finished sixth in my second week back so I feel like I can compete in these, which is nice.

Q. Tiger was just saying it's great having all the top players in the world competing. You don't do that often, just the majors and here. How do you feel about competing with the best?

DAVID HOWELL: Absolutely, it's great. You know you have had a good week if you finish Top 10 or 5th or whatever, or obviously winning one you know, there's no one out there really that there is to beat that's not here, so you know you really performed, which is always nice. If you win a big event but the best player in the world is not there or three or four from the top ten, there's always a question of would you have won it had they been there but you can’t say that in these events and that's the beauty of them.

Q. You feel pretty comfortable with these circles now?

DAVID HOWELL: Yeah, I do. I just keep looking at my results in them. Prove to myself I do compete and I can compete, so it's exciting being here.

Q. Back to the Ryder Cup. Someone was telling me last night about celebrations in the bar, and you were having to buy your own drinks; is that right? You weren't recognized or something; is that right?

DAVID HOWELL: Well, I went without any cash because the boys said don't worry, you don’t need that where we're going. I was concerned but sure enough for the first two hours, there's drinks galore being served and because we stood at the bar they knew who we were, but going back down to mix in with the crowd, and I asked him for another drink, and the waiter must have come down from another planet and said who are you and what are you doing here. It was very bizarre, so slightly embarrassing. That's all right. I don't mind flying under the radar. I'll just make sure I take some cash next time.

Q. Next time, assuming you do qualify, do you think you'll be going there with sort of a different you won't be another naive rookie where it's all brand new? You'll have sort of a different expectation?

DAVID HOWELL: Well, I'm hoping to. You know, I'd love to – I stood in awe of the way Lee and Darren and Sergio played in the last one, picking up three, four points. I thought it was just fantastic and such a long week for them to play five matches was just incredible. I'd love to be that person in the next one. If I keep playing as I am, hopefully I am going to force my way onto the team, which is the first thing, and it would be nice to play a bigger part, definitely.

But talking about complacency earlier on, I'm not complacent in the fact there's so many great players in Europe now that it's going to be a real tough battle to make the team. I'm in a better position now than I was two years ago to make it, and I did last time, so hopefully I will this time.

Q. And the experience of the Seve Trophy, a good partnership with Paul Casey?

DAVID HOWELL: Hopefully maybe we are developing some there. We played five matches, won four out of five matches. That's a strong partnership. Seve Trophy is different than the Ryder Cup, but it's still a good experience of team golf. If it pans out that way and it depends on whether we both make the team, but I'm sure Woosie will have taken notice of that. And if it turns out that way I'll be more than happy to play with Paul.

End of FastScripts.

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