David Howell’s Ryder Cup Experience
31 July 2018 / Golf /
With a professional golf career spanning three decades, David Howell was an important member of two winning European Ryder Cup teams. We speak to our Golf Ambassador about his experiences in golf’s greatest team event.
My first Ryder Cup memory was at the age of 10 watching the 1985 Ryder Cup at the Belfry with a friend. I remember Craig Stadler standing over his 18-inch putt on the last thinking that he was going to miss it, and he did. That was a real turning point in the whole match and from that moment on I had caught the bug.
From the time I turned professional, one of my career goals was to be a part of a winning Ryder Cup team and, perhaps more importantly, to contribute a point to the team. So, when I made the team in 2004 after the final qualifying event in Germany, it was stage one of my Ryder Cup dream achieved.
1st tee nerves
My overriding memory of my first Ryder Cup was the 1st tee nerves at Oakland Hills on Saturday morning where I played in the fourballs alongside Paul Casey. I can picture the huge crowds, which included a number of friends who were following me, and I remember thinking to myself that this was the moment I was going to play in the Ryder Cup.
I had a big moment during that match on the 17th, where we were one down at the time and I hit a good six-iron onto the green and holed an eight-foot putt for birdie to get back to all square. Paul then played the 18th beautifully and I had managed to achieve one of my dreams, contributing a point to the team – it was a real pinch yourself moment.
The team then went on to win that week, by what was a good margin in the end, so my first Ryder Cup was a hugely positive experience and couldn’t have been any better.
Second time around
K Club in 2006 was a very different experience for me, as my career had progressed by that point, I’d won some more tournaments and I was certainly feeling a lot more self-assured as a player off the back of a couple of good years.
I’d qualified quite comfortably for the team and felt able to play a slightly bigger role than in 2004. I was involved in three matches that week, contributing 2.5 points and being part of a very strong European team, playing at home, at a venue I knew well, meant that overall the whole week was a more enjoyable experience for me.
Inspiring the next generation
Ever since my first Ryder Cup memory in 1985, it has evolved to be not only the greatest team event in golf, but also one of the most dramatic and enthralling events in sport, so I am really looking forward to watching everything unfold at Le golf National this September as it should be an epic match.
One of the things that I have always loved about The Ryder Cup is that it provides a real showpiece for the sport and inspires a new generation of golfers, which is also one of the reasons I am delighted to be working with The Grove, as they offer golf, but not as we know it. With no handicap certificate required and no formal dress code, it’s just golf for everyone and hopefully this inclusive philosophy will help to develop one of Europe’s next Ryder Cup heroes.