David Howell made history when he teed off at this week’s Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale by becoming just the third player to play 700 events on the DP World Tour, the two-time Ryder Cup winner from England joining European golf legends Sam Torrance and Miguel Angel Jiménez on the exclusive list.
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 – along with victories at some of golf’s most celebrated tournaments and venues.
The five-time DP World Tour winner joins Scotland’s Torrance and Spain’s Jiménez in the pantheon of players to have reached the significant milestone – 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 years of age, Howell becomes the youngest player in the tour’s history to reach the 700 club – Torrance did so at 52 years of age while Jiménez was 55.
Arguably Howell’s most famous win came at the 2006 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, claiming a five-stroke triumph over fellow countryman Simon Khan, while he also overcame Tiger Woods in the peak of his powers to win the HSBC Champions in China back in 2005.
“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.”
“I wish to extend my huge congratulations to David on this remarkable feat,” said Keith Pelley, the DP World Tour’s Chief Executive Officer. “To become only the third person in the long history of our Tour to pass 700 appearances is testament to a wonderful career and to David’s commitment to his profession.
“As a player he has achieved so much in our game, and I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with David over the last few years through his contribution to the Tour outside the ropes. Not only is he a strong voice on our Tournament Committee and our Board, but he is also a fantastic person, hugely popular among our players, our staff and indeed golf fans around the world.
“David will continue to be a proud ambassador for our Tour, and we are delighted to honour him this week for reaching this significant milestone.”
Howell’s maiden Tour title in 1999 came at a suitably iconic event, the Dubai Desert Classic, winning by four shots over a world-class field. That came just three months after he lifted his first trophy as a professional at the Australian PGA Championship, also by a large margin – nine shots.
It would be another six years before Howell would taste success again, and his first win on European soil arrived at the 2005 BMW International Open at Golfclub München Eichenried, where he overcame Australia’s Brett Rumford and the USA’s John Daly by a shot.
Just three months later, Howell achieved something which very few golfers would ever accomplish. Leading by one shot over Woods heading into the final round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Howell outlasted his playing partner – the 15-time Major winner – down the stretch and claimed a remarkable three-stroke win over the then-World Number One.
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. He overcame the USA’s Peter Uihlein in a play-off at St Andrews Old Course to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and lift the trophy on the famous Swilken Bridge.
Arguably ranked above all of those achievements, however, are Howell’s two appearances for Team Europe in the 2004 and 2006 Ryder Cups.
In his very first match at Oakland Hills in 2004, Howell teamed up with his fellow countryman 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 Europe to a record-breaking 18.5-9.5 victory at The K Club.
In January 2017, Howell was voted unanimously 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.