DAVID Howell has been left ‘bitterly disappointed’ with his performance on the Euopean Tour this season.

The Swindon star has been struggling with injuries for several years, with the 43-year-old hit with wrist, back and shoulder problems in 2018.

Tied 21st at March's Tshwane Open in South Africa was a season's best finish for Howell, who played a total of 24 tournaments during the campaign.

With only nine cuts made, the Broome Manor man he is well aware he must improve after conceding his season spiralled out of control for the second year in a row.

“My season was blighted by injuries, niggles and ill health. The poor start was down to a shoulder injury and then my lower back was feeling poor,” said Howell.

“Once I got out to Qatar and Johannesburg at the end of February, I felt like I was starting to get a little bit of momentum, but that didn’t flow on whatsoever.

“Then I tore my rotary cuff in early May – that was the story of the season.

"It was very stressful and painful. It effected my ability to practice and play freely for most of the year.

“I didn’t really prepare as I would have wished to, so that just spiralled the momentum the wrong way.

“I never really got going. My best finish was 21st, which is a shocker so I am bitterly disappointed.

“The previous year was similar too, so it is a worrying trend that needs to be nipped in the bud.”

After tearing his rotary cuff in a freak accident on a charity golf day, Howell says he rushed his recovery in order to return to action.

When consulting specialists, Howell was caught in two minds whether to have an operation on the problem and ultimately opted against going under the knife.

Looking back, Howell says that maybe a long break from the game would have served him better in the long run.

“When I hurt my shoulder in May, the first specialist I spoke to said I needed an operation. Then the second one I spoke to said definitely not to,” said Howell.

“With my shoulder, it’s hard to say. It has held up to some degree, but if someone had a crystal ball and said ‘have an operation and you’ll come back fully fit for the rest of your life’ then I would have taken the break.

“An operation is a big risk and there was no guarantee. I guess I was much more comfortable going with a more conservative approach and seeing how it progressed.

“I could make a strong case that I needed to take more time off and rehab properly, but that would have meant missing the main part of the season around the Open.

“I got caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, but now I have a window to put some good work into it.

“When you look at my world from 2003 to 2005 when I was fully fit, my mind was on one thing and one thing only – playing good golf.

“My world is pretty different now. My family is a blessing, but I have a body that isn’t coping with playing tournament golf.

“I need to get a balance which will get the best out of me at 43.”