Once considered a surefire star, Charles Howell III is following one of his worst years on Tour with one of his best

Charles Howell III has three top 10s in 2009.
Angus Murray

You've won twice on Tour, but you've had 17 other top-3 finishes. Do you think you've had trouble finishing out tournaments?
Not really. You have to keep putting yourself in that position, and then hitting the right shots at the right time. That's what I need to keep doing. Honestly, it really doesn't bother me that much, because I feel I'm working on stuff to get better in the future.

You made as much money in your first 15 tournaments this year as you did all of last season [in 31 starts]. What's changed?
I think I'm just playing better. I don't really look at that stuff; I'm not trying to worry about that stuff. I'm just trying to get better and win golf tournaments. But yes, I do feel like I'm much further ahead of where I was last year.

You switched coaches last year. What have you been working on since you made the change?
The number-one thing is just controlling the ball better. Trying to hit it left to right, right to left. I'm trying to increase the total number of shots I can hit on the course under pressure.

You grew up in Augusta. Do you remember the first time you played at Augusta National?
I sure do. I was 12 years old, and I think my dad set it up with somebody there who was a member as a treat for my birthday. It certainly was a special day. I've played there a lot. I remember the first time I broke 90 there. I remember my first Masters appearance.

Your dad is still a surgeon in Augusta. Does that put what you do, playing golf for a living, in perspective?
Absolutely it does. What he does saves lives, and helping people is really important. What we do out here is not. I never forget the people who do truly important stuff for a living.

Did you ever think about going into medicine instead of golf?
I don't think I could ever do that. That's lots of study, lots of hard work, and lots of skill.

A few years ago you said you were under-delivering on your potential. Do you still feel that way?
What I said was that if I didn't win a major or two before I retired I would think my career was unfulfilled. I still believe that. I think anybody who doesn't win a major out here is probably a bit unfulfilled.

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