DAVID Howell says he feels any sign of form soon pales into insignificance as his injury torment continues to hamper his progress.

The 43-year-old has endured a torrid time physically over the recent years, with back, foot and most recently a shoulder problem curtailing his latest efforts on the European Tour.

The two-time Ryder Cup winner’s last injury-free year came in 2015, which saw him participate in more than 30 events at golf’s top-table, making the cut on 21 occasions.

In comparison, since 2015, Howell has managed to make it to the weekend 22 times from 54 tour events.

The Swindon star says it has been a similar story again this year as a torn shoulder has become the latest ailment.

“I have played reasonably well so far this year, when I have been fit,” he said.

“It’s been another year of injuries.

“At the start of the year I was trying to find fitness. I seem to turn up at the first two or three events of the tour in Qatar and stuff trying to get fit.

“After finding it, I played all right for a run of six or seven tournaments when and I had some momentum which I could then build on.

“Then, just when I thought things were beginning to turn the corner, this shoulder problem shows up.

“It’s just a case battling on really, it’s a bit sad. My actual golf hasn’t been too bad so there is definitely something to be hopeful about.

“That has been the case for the past two or three years now. It’s just fitness, fitness, fitness.”

This week, Howell was competing at the Irish Open in a bid to add another cut to his statistics.

After an opening round of one-over par at Ballyliffin on Thursday, the Swindon man set himself up nicely for day two.

However, today’s second round wasn’t quite what he was looking for as he got off to a sticky start in Ireland.

Starting on the 10th, a double bogey-six two holes in swelled Howell’s score to three over-par.

The 43-year-old’s recovery was brief, a birdie four on the fifth restoring him to some extent as he finished off his front nine without further blemishes.

His back nine proved no better as a bogey five and a bogey four pushed him further down the pecking order as time began to run out on the Broome Manor man.

In his final two, he was unable to repair any of the damage as he finished with back-to-back pars.

That left him three over par for the day and four over for the tournament in County Donegal as he was forced to settle for his event being cut short for the second time in as many weeks.