Brick Capital Champion Feature – Currie Howell
By Jon Hockaday
Jon Hockaday is a staff reporter for WFJA Sports. He has played in, managed, or reported for 42 of the previous 44 Brick Capital Classic Golf Tournaments.
The Brick Capital Classic is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I get to hang around and watch good golf and visit with friends that I see once a year – when they come back to play in “the Brick”. I have known a lot of the players in this year’s field for 30-40+ years and I’ve had the pleasure to play golf with many of them. The weekend is like a reunion of sorts – a chance to remember a lot of good times. The tournament brings all kinds of individuals and there have been memorable characters over the years. I met the 2006 Brick Champion in the ‘90s at the Keith Hills Amateur and enjoyed his fun-loving personality. Our Champion Feature is 2006 Champion Currie Howell.
Currie Howell of Angier won the 2006 Brick Capital Classic for his first and only Brick title and has been a regular in this event since 2001. His love of competition brought him to Sanford for the Brick Capital in 2001 and 17 more times since. Howell has grown to love the course and the event and in 2006 – fired a pair of 69s to win by 4 shots. He has been close several times since, but has aged some (as we all do) since that win 15 years ago. The time to keep his skills sharp has dwindled – with a growing law practice and family – and scheduling practice time for events such as the Brick gets harder each year. But Howell remembers the win in ’06 – and it brings him back each year with a hope of catching fire, competing, and winning once again. Howell is excited about this year’s event and feels his game is ready for this weekend, “I have seen a few glimpses of hope and good play lately.”
Howell readily admits the social aspect of the tournament brings him back as well, “I enjoy the competition and the way the tournament is managed. I always get to see a lot of old friends. The Lee County community embraces the tournament, and it just has a special “vibe” to it. You always have hope when you return to a place you enjoy playing and you’ve had previous success.”
The Brick Capital Classic has seen few changes other than the quality and depth of the field in its 45-year existence. This event, like much of golf, is steeped in history and tradition and was built on providing pure competition under the rules of golf. Many close to the tournament credit Howell with one slight change to the Brick Capital as he was the first competitor to have music in his cart during Championship Flight play. Nowadays, every group has an iPhone hook up or Pandora, and carts now even have plug-ins for phones and electronics. Music on the course (at a low volume that only YOUR GROUP can hear) is acceptable these days and you see/hear it often. But Howell was ahead of his time in 2009 and though it did not bother most, some were not fans early on of music in tournament play. It made a statement that you can be in a high-level competition and still have fun – which I personally think is refreshing. Over the last 12 years younger players have included music as part of the game and even older players (like me) enjoy hearing some “Classic Hits” or some “Sunday Beach Music” riding down the fairways between shots – especially if we are listening to WFJA!
If you are at the Brick this weekend and you haven’t met Currie Howell – you should. Whether he wins or not, I look forward to seeing Currie and watching him play. I know he will have fun and play aggressively – as always – and I hope that he brings his best game with him.
Future Brick Articles
Monday, June 21 – Course Feature
Thursday, June 24 – Who will win the Brick?