Howell withdraws from BMW PGA
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2007 BMW PGA Championship | 22 May 2007
Defending champion David Howell has been forced to withdraw from this week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club due to injury.
The 31-year-old Englishman, who was in imperious form when he won the title by five shots on the West Course 12 months ago, has been plagued by back problems for some time and although he attempted to be fit for his defence, it was not to be.
“Obviously I feel gutted,” he said. “It is my first big event of the year back in Britain on a course where I have won and just half a mile from where I live.
“It is not a nice situation but at the end of the day, I know that I have won this great title and I hope to have the chance to win it again. I would love to have gone out and defended it but if you are not fit, you are not fit.
“It was always touch and go but in the end I felt I couldn’t risk it. I hit 50 shots today (Monday) just as I did two days ago to see how it felt. I decided if I was pain free I would play nine holes tomorrow (Tuesday) and then the Pro-Am on Wednesday but unfortunately I wasn’t pain free.”
“I have had scans on the SI joint (sacroiliac joint at the base of the spine) and it shows signs of strain. I wanted to give it a shot and I checked with the physio but we felt it was really too soon to play.”
“At the end of the day it was a common sense decision. The scans had shown inflammation and I didn’t want to endanger my health for other big events later in the season. It was close, but not close enough.”
Seven players from the top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking will lead the quest for the â‚¬725,000 first prize from the â‚¬4,350,000 prize fund in the BMW PGA Championship including current number 11, Padraig Harrington, who has the additional incentive of a â‚¬1 million bonus if he can complete back-to-back triumphs on The European Tour International Schedule following his emotional victory in the Irish Open at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort last week.