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September 29, 2013

David Howell


MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Alfred Dunhill Links Champion, doesn't get much better than that, does it?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Doesn't get any better.テつ It's a long time coming, seven years and it's been a funny week really.テつ All week I was nervous on the first tee at Carnoustie.テつ I was a nervous wreck yesterday.テつ I can't explain why.テつ We all know it's a big week and we've all got lots to pay for, but today I found a little bit more inner strength, I was calmer and more calm than I had been the previous three days.
Still struggled a little bit to get the pace on the greens under big, intense pressure and all in all, really pleased with how I stayed in control and kept controlling my swing and holed the ones that I had to right at the end.テつ Massive putt at the 17th.テつ Didn't how I was doing.テつ Just wanted to get through 17 without‑‑ obviously try to make par on 17, so didn't really think there was much point‑‑ yeah, couldn't have worked out better.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Seven years.
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Yeah, it's been an interesting seven years.テつ We've talked a lot about the ups and downs of it all and the downs were really pretty poor.
I lost my way in life and on the course, as well, and obviously really sweet moment to be happy and settled with Emily and Freddie at home and the twins on the way, so the off‑course life has never been better and finally to win a massive championship, that really sort of seals‑‑ how things are really good at the moment and I'm in a really happy place.

Q.テつ Congratulations.テつ Now that you're in that happy place, are you able to tell us, look back and tell us a wee bit more about that time, and what was the lowest point, for example, and how did you get through that bad stage?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Yeah, I can't remember the lowest golf point to be honest with you.テつ I just knew I was playing pretty damn poorly a number of years.テつ I don't want to go into too much detail‑‑ off‑course, I wasn't a happy camper.テつ Made some poor decisions and took a while to sort of sort through them.テつ That would have been around 2008, 2009‑‑ probably 2008 I guess.テつ And just takes a toll on a professional career; whether you're a sportsman, A businessman or entertainer or anything; you can't do your job well if you're not happy and certainly didn't help my cause.
I owe Emily a debt of gratitude for having me back, and showing me the light, shall we say, that we were always going to be a happy couple in the end.テつ A great off‑course story.テつ I know I owe a lot of people many thanks, as well, for getting my golf back on course, as well.
Jonathan Wallet, my coach, has been two really good years since he's come on board, and you know, I owe him an awful lot of credit to get me thinking better and back towards being the player that I once was and we hope to be again.

Q.テつ Your team partner, Hugh Grant, how did he inspire you for this victory?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Well, I used Hugh very badly and severely today.テつ I said last night at the dinner, I'm going to use you to my own benefit tomorrow.テつ I'm going to laugh at all your bad shots and give you all bits of weird advice‑‑ just for my own, not sanity, but my own entertainment.テつ He's been a great partner for the four or five years we've played.
We've had a lot of fun and it was great that he made the cut and thrilled that he could watch me play some of the golf I always knew I could and haven't done over the years in his company, as well.テつ We have been a terrible partnership in this, a lot of fun, but no good results.テつ But this changes that rather dramatically.

Q.テつ So when Hugh duffs 1‑down the first way, did that calm the nerves?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ I try not to watch him pitching because he really is very poor at that.テつ No, he knows I'm going to laugh at him and we have got a similar sense of humour.テつ Yeah, he's literally‑‑ I gave him some weird advice and just tried to make myself as calm and comfortable as possible, and that's the way it works.

Q.テつ When did you feel it was turning around?テつ Did you feel that you turned the corner at any time the last couple of years, because you've gotten back to being quite consistent?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Second half of last year, I guess really played some nice stuff and then starting off again well this year and I had a chance to win in Abu Dhabi, had the poor putt on the final day and that was obviously a bitter blow.テつ But having just had whatever it was, a month off and having a chance to win another big championship, that was a big boost of confidence there.
But you know, today, I'm hoping is going to be huge for me in many ways, because it has been seven years since I've won and I have had many chances and I haven't been able to do it.テつ Very similar to a period earlier in my career where I won in Dubai and then didn't win for another six years, even playing in a Ryder Cup.
So winning has not come easy to me, and you gain the ultimate confidence when you do win.テつ So to win in a playoff, which I also haven't done, is another big thing, and yeah, I'm hoping it's going to spur me on to bigger and better things obviously.

Q.テつ You've won five or six times on The European Tour, including beating Tiger Woods once and the PGA at Wentworth; how do you rank this?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Well, this is a huge event.テつ I can't put it above the BMW PGA Championship, of course.テつ That is our Flagship Event, and it's the professional golfers championship of the British PGA, so that's always going to be No. 1.テつ But this ranks a very, very close second.
And HSBC was a huge win for me obviously playing with Tiger Woods, but that was the first year of that massive event, and I would say this has a bigger feel to it than that event in those days; it's now gone on to bigger and better things.テつ I'd like to say I sent the HSBC on its way, shall we say; so look out for the Dunhill to be a World Golf Championships event very soon (laughing).テつ I'd say right behind the BMW, definitely.

Q.テつ You played with Henrik Stenson at The Ryder Cup together in 2006; did you take any kind of inspiration from the year that he's had?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Yes, to some degree.テつ You know, I wouldn't say it's been on the forefront of my mind, but you know, certainly aware of how brilliant Henrik has turned things around; he's now better than ever and that's what I'm working towards with my coach; why can't the next ten years be the best of my career.テつ If that's the case, I'll be more than satisfied with the life's work that I've put together as a golfer.
That's our plan and this is obviously a massive step on that road, a long way to go to catch Henrik up, but winning championships, if you win two or three, it's amazing how far you go up the World Rankings and at the forefront of everyone's minds.テつ Hopefully this is the start of many to come, but if it's not and I have to wait a few more years, well, it's a pretty sweet one to win anyway.

Q.テつ A lot of golfers in the pro ranks have gone through what you've endured, won a lot and then not won‑‑ what's the message for guys that are still looking for a big win like this?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Well, I think everyone is aware that golf is a very, very fickle game.テつ I noticed Tom Lewis got his card today by finishing with a 64 for third place.テつ Tom was on the verge of losing his card this year.テつ Looked like he was going to do miraculous things early on in his career.テつ Didn't quite happen after the win in Portugal but one round of golf‑‑ well, four rounds, but he's really sealed the deal today and it's turned his year around and who knows, maybe his whole career.
So anytime something good happens in golf, really spurs you on and you never know when that's going to be.テつ We all know you can play golf right up until you're 50.テつ It's a very unusual sport.テつ What the key to it, is obviously being in for the long haul and finding a way to keep your desire and still want it.テつ If you haven't do the that, you've got no chance.テつ But as long as you have, there's always a carrot dangling, and you know, there's the carrot.

Q.テつ Also to play inテつ The Open Championship here, something you've never done before.
DAVID HOWELL:テつ I've played in a lot of Opens for the career that I've had, but never been fortunate enough to play in one at St. Andrews.テつ I've always enjoyed playing here and obviously even more so after having been able to win a championship here. テつYou don't get too many opportunities, and it's very, very sweet.
So I look forward to try again in 2015 I guess.テつ This is a big step towards that.テつ Funny how that clichテδゥ works, momentum, but it is a big thing.テつ So we are going to jump up the rankings and hopefully we can stick around to play in that.

Q.テつ Was one of your main tasks when you were in the dark spell to get golf in perspective?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Not really.テつ Golf means an awful lot to me.テつ It isn't as important as being happy off the golf course.テつ There's like just being happy as a person, so you always have to have a private life, a personal life, that makes you happy.テつ But I put a lot into my golf over the years, and if it's not going well, then I'm not a happy camper.
So I'm not sure how much perspective I was able to keep in terms of what golf plays in my life.テつ So it means so much to me.テつ It's very important.テつ And I'm not a nice person to be around‑‑ well, as nice, obviously, when things aren't going well.テつ And I think that goes back to the desire that you've got to have as a sportsman; perspective is important, but some people find having a family and kids really is the ultimate perspective.テつ But you've got to pay for them, as well.
So it can swing both ways, and I'm probably on the latter of those where I think, okay, we need to provide for the family and that can be a pressure‑‑ so perspective is‑‑ long answer that could have been no.テつ (Laughter) I don't even know what I said now.

Q.テつ Never mind.テつ You can answer this one in a word or two.テつ When are these twins coming?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ December 3 the latest.

Q.テつ It's a long ways off, but Ryder Cup, this hopefully takes you quite a long way to getting into that team; can you start to think about that at all?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ You can't get into Ryder Cup without winning tournaments and playing in the world championships events really.テつ It's impossible to get in without playing the biggest events and that's what makes a tournament victory like this so important.
Only early on this morning, I wasn't sure whether I was going to go and play in Perth or not, would I get into the BMW Championship in Asia, would I make The Race to Dubai.テつ Without getting in those three or four events, you're near on impossible to make it, so it's another big step on the road.
Yeah, I'd love to play in another Ryder Cup.テつ When you're not playing well, The Ryder Cup is a pretty nerve‑wracking event as we all know and you can only really cope with it if you're playing extremely good golf.テつ It's not a place to be in you're not.
So there's not even any point in thinking about it until you're playing well enough to think about it.テつ You wouldn't want have to been playing in The Ryder Cup playing as poorly as I have in the last four or five years, but sure enough, with a big victory, it's going to be on the mind much, much more than it was just a couple of hours ago.

Q.テつ You mentioned a thank you for your caddie, that was the first word you said.テつ Could you please explain, was it a help to have him at your side, and the two last holes, what did you work together on?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Well, I noticed he was having a bit of a mini‑tantrum himself when I ended up‑‑ on the road there, that was obviously a little bit of a mistake.テつ I seemed a bit calmer than him at that point.
But, hey, this is a big week for Steve and his family.テつ He just had a little girl, and you know, ten percent of this cheque will go a long way to making their family a little bit more enjoyable in the years to come, as well.
So all around, it's been a big day for everyone.テつ But Steve's been great.テつ He really came on board two years ago, and sort of bought into what I've been doing with my coach, Jonathan Wallet.テつ He's been very intensive with Steve to make sure we are on the same page, and Steve has the right characteristics to be open‑minded enough to do things a little bit differently, and sure enough, this is a payoff.テつ I'm delighted for him as well as me.

Q.テつ What's his last name?
DAVID HOWELL:テつ Steve Brotherhood.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:テつ Congratulations, well done.

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