Oct 22 (Reuters) - Britain’s David Howell is looking to swap the TV airwaves for the fairways of the Jumeirah Golf Estates next month by finally making his debut in the money-spinning Dubai World Championship.
The former Ryder Cup player, who outscored final-round partner Tiger Woods to win the Champions Tournament in China seven years ago, is slowly getting back to something approaching his best form after several seasons of struggle.
Howell has worked as a TV commentator for the three previous editions of the Dubai event but a tie for fourth place at last week’s European Tour event in Perth, Australia boosted his hopes of qualifying for the season-ending spectacular.
“Living just down the road it has been hard the past few years driving into the Dubai tournament every day and then going to the TV studio rather than the practice range,” the 37-year-old told the tour’s official website (www.europeantour.com).
“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.”
Howell reached the top 10 in the world rankings after winning in China in 2005 and in the PGA Championship at Wentworth the following year.
He was the third best golfer in Europe in 2006 but it has been downhill ever since for the likeable Englishman as he has finished 142nd, 45th, 156th, 96th and 103rd on the money list.
“Everyone who knows me knows I’ve been gunning to get into the Dubai World Championship this year,” said Howell who is four places outside the top 60 spots in the money list that guarantee qualification for the $8 million extravaganza.
“It was a really good finish in Australia which has helped me gain entry for the Singapore Open in a couple of weeks. It was my second-best finish in the past couple of years and I‘m really pleased.”
The Dubai World Championship starts on Nov. 22. (Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Justin Palmer)