SWINDON golfer David Howell has labelled 2018 as one of the worst in his 23-year career after he pulled out of the final two European Tour events of the calendar year with a troublesome wrist injury.

Howell completed just nine full tournaments in the 2018 European Tour season, his last being the Portugal Masters in late September, but still collected more than 100,000 Euros in prize money.

The 43-year-old had a credible finishes in the Tshwane Open in early March before a top-25 performance at the Nordea Masters in August, a tournament in which he became the 10th player in the European Tour’s history to reach 600 career appearances.

Howell’s most recent win came in 2013 as he defeated the American Peter Uihlein in a play-off to win the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, but since then has battled serial wrist, back and shoulder injuries, preventing him from challenging at the top end of the leaderboard.

Despite Howell’s latest injury troubles, the Broome Manor man remains confident that with a little rest and recuperation, he can begin challenging for titles again in 2019.

He said: “It’s been one of the worst years in my 23-year career, if not the worst, so I’ll just spend time with my family, come back energised and hopefully I’ll feel a bit better physically next season.

“This year has proved I struggle to compete unless I do the hard work and feel healthy, and that just hasn’t been there this year.

“First things first, the aim is to be fully fit and as close to 100 per cent as I can before I start again next season.

“I’m still struggling with a wrist injury, so I’m just trying to get myself fit to contest the new season.

“I had a wrist injection last month as I’d had a problem during the last tournament of the year.

“I’ve been getting some rest, but nothing has settled down so it’s a case of these tournaments before Christmas coming too soon for me.

“The main thing is to be as fit as I can be for the start of the onslaught in late January and in the meantime, I’ll down sticks for the foreseeable future until the big ones start next year.

“I’ve got a bit of TV work next year, but with no golf now for the remainder of this year, I’ll be working on my fitness for the rest of the year and spending time with the family.

“That is probably well needed after the year I’ve had, so maybe it’s exactly what’s called for.”