SWINDON golfer David Howell says he will be ‘like a kid at Christmas’ before he makes his 2019 European Tour debut at the Dubai Desert Classic today.

Howell has been plagued by injury in recent years, but the last few months have been particularly problematic as he has failed to tee it up in any event since the Portugal Masters back in September.

The Desert Classic, taking place at the Emirates Golf Club, will offer Howell the chance of a fresh start to an injury-free 2019 and the 43-year-old is hoping his tempered expectations will put him in good stead for a successful showing.

Howell believes his lowered expectations and child-like enthusiasm at being out on the course again may cause him to achieve beyond his top-25 finish at the same tournament in 2015.

He said: “It won’t be easy as it’s my first event after three months off, but the one thing for sure is that as soon as I’m fit to swing and hit freely, then I’m going to be like a kid at Christmas – I’m going to be really excited and just enjoy being out there.

“That will be good, to get some positive vibes and enjoy playing golf again as my expectations will be low.

“That’s often a good mix – when you’re keen and have low expectations, generally you can put in a good performance.

“Hopefully those two things will be positives, but the lack of golf over the last three months is obviously the biggest negative.”

Howell, who lived in Dubai for a short time, won the Desert Classic in 1999 as a 23-year-old but last finished inside the top 25 at the 2015 tournament.

The 43-year-old is hoping to use that familiarity to not only fuel another credible finish, but also to stand him in good stead for a more successful year of golf.

Howell said: “They’re great tournaments over there and I’ve won the Desert Classic before. I used to live there too, so that’s got some strange feelings attached to it, but I’m very at home at the Emirates Golf Club.

“It’s been a few years since I played well there, so I need to try and turn that around.”