Open 2015: St Andrews Open finally a reality for David Howell

By Ged Scottat the Old Course, St Andrews
David Howell
Howell has six professional career wins to his name
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

David Howell will be playing in his 25th major when he tees it up in the 144th Open Championship this week.

But the Swindon-born former Ryder Cup player is particularly proud to be part of the 156-strong field at St Andrews for two reasons.

Aged 40, this is surprisingly his first Open on the famous Old Course.

Yet Howell is also one of a select handful in this week's field with the experience of having actually won a tournament at St Andrews.

The Surrey-based father of three lifted the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews in 2013 - and will now be fulfilling a long-standing ambition by playing in an Open there too.

"I'm one of the lucky few to have won a tournament there, having won the Dunhill," he told BBC Sport.

"It was a very special moment to stand there on the 18th giving my speech and I can only imagine what it would be like to do the same at an Open.

The Howell story
David Howell was part of the victorious European Ryder Cup teams at Oakland Hills in 2004 and The K Club in 2006.
This will be his 13th Open Championship, his best finish having been seventh at Royal Birkdale in 2008.
He has also qualified for five US Opens, played at four US PGAs and made it to the Masters at Augusta three times.
He now lives in Weybridge (with three children under four - including twins)
Howell will tee off on Thursday at 10:28 BST, partnered by Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Australian Greg Chalmers.

"I've been around 20 years now and, if my whole career had gone by without ever playing in a St Andrews Open, I'd have been gutted. This was certainly one of my big targets at the start of this year.

"I missed out in 2000, I was exempted in 2005, having done my stomach muscle, and in 2010 I just didn't make it.

"I was talking to one or two of the younger guys about it and maybe they haven't been around long enough yet to work out just how special this week is.

"I've always played well there and, for me, it's not just about going up there and smelling the roses. I'm there to compete and it would be great to stand on the 10th tee on Sunday still with a chance of winning.

"Apart from one funny little three-week spell, when I missed three cuts, I'm playing well."

Speaking after his closing two-under-par 68 on Sunday to claim a tie for 10th place in the Scottish Open at Gullane, Howell added: "I've had six top-10 finishes - and four of those were chances to win.

"I'm disappointed I haven't converted one of those, but it's all about keeping myself in the mix.

"I've always had the odd niggle but I'm probably fitter now than I was 10 years ago. And, while it's all right having the experience, you've got to use it well and I make less mistakes now than I did when I was younger."