SWINDON golfer David Howell believes recent warm weather conditions across the country will make for an unpredictable Open Championship.

Howell, who has competed in the world’s most famous golf tournament 14 times during his career, was overseeing this year’s action from the commentary box for Sky Sports when it got under way this morning.

Carnoustie is the venue where Jordan Spieth will attempt to defend the Claret Jug he won 12 months ago, with the course considered the toughest on The Open rotation.

Two-time European Ryder Cup player Howell thinks a firm ground that allows the ball to run will make for plenty of good scoring opportunities this week, and a wide-open competition as a result.

However, the 43-year-old has especially high hopes for one of his former Ryder Cup colleagues – fellow Englishman Ian Poulter.

“It is going to be a good one,” said Howell, who has won five European Tour titles in his career.

“Carnoustie, like all courses right now, is going to be firm and fast. I am not sure what the rough is like, but when the ground is like it is, it opens it up to the whole field.

“You don’t need power to get around Carnoustie, it is about hitting the ball straight down the middle as often as possible and using those scoring skills.

“Someone like Poulter is playing really well. He played nicely last week at the Scottish Open, so I quite fancy him to have a decent crack.”

Although not competing in Scotland, Howell is looking forward to casting his eye over the world’s best as they battle it out for the iconic Claret Jug prize.

The Broome Manor man is expected to return to action himself at next week’s European Open in Germany before another fortnight away from tournament golf.

After struggling with a shoulder injury in recent weeks, Howell hopes a bit of respite will help him return to full fitness.

“I am commentating at the Open, but I have got a little bit of time off. Hopefully the shoulder will benefit from the break,” said Howell.

“It is feeling less symptomatic every day. I have got full power and it felt good last week at the Scottish Open.

“I am sure a bit of a lighter load over the next month can only do it some good."