Howell Still Recalls Disappointments of Last Year
He had dropped out of Oklahoma State to turn pro, having foregone the messy experience of attending the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. Maybe it was the third-place finish at the John Deere Classic, and the subsequent $176,000 check, that deluded him into thinking this would be an easy assignment. To get his card in the seven tournaments that were allowed to give him a sponsors exemption shouldnt be too tough. All he had to do was make as much enough money to get to No. 125 - slightly more than $390,000.
He was so wrong. It turned into a near-impossible task. Today he has recovered nicely, solidly inside No. 125, No. 49 in the World Rankings, going for a spot in the Tour Championship. But he will never forget last year.
Last year was so exciting, he recalls the boyish experience. It was like, Look whos out here on driving range, I just saw Davis Love, or, I saw Phil Mickelson eating a hamburger.
It went the whole gamut, from, Its going to be easy, to, Oh my goodness, now what are you going to do?
Howell didnt get his card. And when this year started, he didnt have any status again, having missed in qualifying school.
Suddenly, though, he remembered those days as an all-America at Oklahoma State, and he began to roll ' and roll and roll. He still isnt officially a member of the PGA Tour, but the rules have been re-written three times to make sure that when next season begins, he will be eligible for everything.
Im No. 126 on the number, detailing the manner in which the PGA Tour had dealt with his case. Because of a rules change, Ill be in the invitationals ' the Players Championship, Bay Hill, Memorial, Colonial and WorldCom. Ill get into those as an add-on to the field. The TPC, for example ' instead of 125, they will take 126. Ill be an add-on to the Tour Championship if I qualify ' itll be a 31-man field.
Before, it was such that I could have, for example, finished second at the International, second at the PGA, I could have qualified for the Ryder Cup team and finished second the rest of the year out, and I would still be a non-member next year and not gotten into any invitationals next year.
Howell showed up at the National Car Rental Classic at Disney Tuesday clad in Jesper Parnevik duds. His skinny build, 5-feet-11 and only 153 pounds, was covered with a closely cut gold-color shirt and slender, form-fitting black slacks. In fact, he says hes about to sign an endorsement contract with Parneviks clothesmaker.
I wont have the Jesper extreme look, but I will wear basically the same type of clothing, Howell said.
In the world of basketball, for example, if youre a Dennis Rodman look-alike, you have to pierce 15 different body parts and dye your hair 37 different colors. In golf, if you wear something like this, youre set apart a little bit and suddenly youre different. Im skinny enough where that I make even these pants look baggy. And I like the look.
Howell draws the line, however, at Jespers pink. You wont see me in pink, he said definitively. Youll see me in a lot of black and khaki and blue and gray. But pink ' no.
One goal puts him in an awfully large group, however. He, like every other golfer on the PGA Tour, is chasing Tiger Woods.
Oh yeah, Tiger is definitely the standard, he said. He is definitely the best, and hes the standard in every facet of the game. Hes the best golfer in the world, and hes someone I definitely look up to and want to pattern myself after.
Watch: All of Tiger's Rd. 3 birdies at The Open
Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.
Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.
No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.
No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.
No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.
No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.
No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.
And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.
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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.
Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.
Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.
After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.
“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”
Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).
It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.