David Howell says that he is setting his alarm clock for 4am on Thursday morning. Given that he’s going to hit the opening shot of the Open Championship, that’s probably just as well.
Howell, a five-time winner on the European Tour, is out at 6.25am at Royal Liverpool with 2001 champion David Duval and former European Tour No.1 Robert Karlsson. And that means getting out bed much earlier than usual.
“It’ll be 4 o’clock, roughly speaking,” said the Englishman. “But I’m pleased. It’s a good thing and it’s a thrill. It’s nice to tee off first. It’s nothing major, but nice to get it out of the way.
“I have played in the first group before but I’m not sure if I’ve ever hit the first shot.”
The 39-year-old, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews last year, added that his practice schedule will now have to change slightly to accommodate his earlier-than-usual start.
“One of us at the end of the round is going to be leading." - David Howell
“I might play early on Wednesday now to get a feel for how it plays at that time of the day,” he said. “I’ll also try to get as much rest as I can. But, luckily, I got enough warning to work everything out.”
He added: “One of us at the end of the round is going to be leading, so we’ll be all trying hard to make sure we’re leading going into the clubhouse. You can’t argue with that and you always want a round to be early.”
Howell, who says he is a fan of the Hoylake links, also said that the course is playing fast at this early stage in the week – albeit not as fast as 2006, when Tiger Woods triumphed over the baked-out fairways.
“It’s looking good,” he said. “It’s very different than it was back in 2006. But it’s in great shape and exactly what you’d expect. It’s not brutally tough, rough-wise. It will be a good Open test.”
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