Ranking/movement: +91 (No. 173 to No. 82)
Why the rise? Howell gives credit to his work with a new coach, Jonathan Wallett, which began in 2011.
Howell, 38, had won four times on the European Tour from 1999 to 2006 and played on Ryder Cup teams in 2004 and ’06. Then things started to go south. Howell’s game deteriorated during the next six years, with no victories and three years of finishing outside of the top 100 in the Race to Dubai.
From 2006 to ’07, the Englishman’s scoring average ballooned from 70.84 to 73.47.
“It’s been a two‑year process,” Howell said. “Last year, I was 62nd after three or four horrendous years, so that was the start of the journey, really, and I have to put a lot of it down to changing coaches two years ago, working with my new coach, Jonathan Wallett. He’s helped me look at my game from a very different angle, and this is the hard work and the change of approach paying off.”
Playing golf versus focusing on technique was Howell’s biggest issue and one that Wallett stressed. The changes were not immediate, but Howell has climbed in the Race to Dubai during the past three years: 103rd (2011) to 62nd (’12) to 21st (’13).
Of course, winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in September helped.
Howell says: “Obviously, it’s a very technical game, but all my efforts were on it, and I was just stifling what little talent I might have, paralysis by analysis, all that kind of stuff. Jon just got me playing golf again and bit by bit working out what my own swing is all about rather than trying to change my swing. I spent years trying to change my swing and improve it – forgot who I was. And I think what Jon has had me do is understand my own swing rather than actually try and change that.”