Swindon’s David Howell made history today when he teed off at this week’s Cazoo Open in Wales to become just the third player to play 700 European Tour events.
The dual Ryder Cup winner joins European golf legends Sam Torrance and Miguel Angel Jiménez as a member of the exclusive ‘700 Club’. Jiménez overtook Torrance’s long-standing record of 706 events in 2020 and currently tops the all-time list of appearances on 717. At 47, Howell becomes the youngest player in the tour’s history to reach the milestone, Torrance did so at 52, while Jiménez was 55 when he hit the 700-mark.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining two of European golf’s greatest legends by making my 700th appearance this week,” said Howell. “It has been such an honour to play on the DP World Tour for so many years. It has been a massive part of my life and obviously it will continue to be, both as a player and a representative on the Tournament Committee and the board of the European Tour group. I have so many people to thank for helping me and guiding me throughout my career but most of all, I owe everything to my wife Emily and our children for their incredible support down the years.”
Howell boasts an enviable career in the professional game, underpinned by a remarkable standard of consistency at the highest level – he has held his Tour card for 27 consecutive seasons. His first Tour title in 1999 came at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he won by four shots over a world-class field. That victory came just three months after he lifted his first trophy as a professional with a nine-shot win at the Australian PGA Championship.
It would be another six years before he would taste success again, and his first win on European soil arrived at the 2005 BMW International Open in Germany. Just three months later, Howell claimed a remarkable win in the HBSC Champions event in China, where he outgunned then world no.1 Tiger Woods in the final group to win by three shots.
Having added the much-revered BMW PGA Championship trophy to his cabinet in 2006, it was perhaps fitting that his most recent of five wins on the Tour would come at the Home of Golf, where he beat Peter Uihlein in a play-off at Old Course to win the 2013 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Arguably ranked above all of those achievements, however, are Howell’s two appearances for Europe in the 2004 and 2006 Ryder Cups. In his very first match at Oakland Hills in 2004, Howell teamed up with Paul Casey to beat Jim Furyk and Chad Campbell 1up to claim a point en route to an historic 19-17 away victory for Bernhard Langer’s team. His second appearance two years later was even more impressive, as he claimed 2.5 points in three matches, including a 5&4 singles victory over Brett Wetterich to help Ian Woosnam’s team to a record-breaking 18.5-9.5 victory at The K Club.
In January 2017, Howell was voted to succeed Thomas Bjørn as the Tournament Committee Chairman of the Tour, a position he has held since. In December 2020, he was appointed to the Board of the European Tour group.
Howell reached a career high of 11th in the world ranking in 2005, and was still inside the world’s top 100 after the 2015 season. He has made the cut in only one event in 2022, and is without a top-10 finish since tying for the third in the Czech Masters in 2016.