DAVID Howell says the 2019 European Tour season was the most disappointing of his 20-year professional career.

The Swindon golfer finished 225th in the Race to Dubai rankings and is down to number 1,575 in the world rankings following another missed cut at the Portugal Masters last week – his 20th of the season.

Lacklustre green-in-regulation statistics put the two-time Ryder Cup winner at the very back of that particular category and went some way to explaining why a campaign that featured more than 20 tournaments produced so little prize money – just a shade over 40,000 Euros was accumulated by the 44-year-old.

Yet, Howell says the desire to compete still burns bright within him, and he is already looking at next season as an opportunity to enjoy life on the course again.

Howell said: “This season has been horrendous. Clearly it has been the most disappointing season of my career. It’s been a lot of very frustrating and poor golf.

“Last season was difficult, but I was hit hard by the shoulder injury. This season, by and large, my shoulder has coped.

“A lot of guys over the years have got to my stage and their desire has ebbed away.

“That’s not the case with me – I’m still as keen as ever to look at next season as a real opportunity to go out and play some good golf, have some fun again and get things back on track.”

Although Howell played the same number of events in 2019 as he did in his previous season on the Tour, a late start due to injury was hardly ever interrupted later down the line this time around.

The Broome Manor man coped with a problematic shoulder throughout the campaign and admitted he feared he would enter the impending rest period “a broken man”.

However, Howell revealed he feels in decent shape and is already looking at where he can improve when the 2020 season rolls around in four weeks’ time.

Howell said: “One positive from this season would be that I was able to play more golf and my body coped better.

“I’m always going to have to manage the shoulder – it wasn’t great during Italy and France recently – but last week, it felt better.

“I was a little bit worried I was going to go into this month a broken man and not be able to play or practice, but that’s not been the case.

“I still love doing what I do, I just don’t like doing it the way I’ve done it this year.

“I’m straight back out on the practice ground and thinking hard about what changes to make ahead of next season.”