DAVID Howell was making his much-anticipated return to the European Tour this week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which was getting under way in Scotland this morning.

The 42-year-old, who won the tournament in 2013, has been out of action for two months after a back injury sidelined him in the Porsche European Open in Germany at the end of June.

Initially the two-time Ryder Cup winner looked to return within a couple of weeks, but after failing to find the cause of his discomfort, he was forced to elongate his break.

However, the Swindon star said he was feeling fit going into his first tournament in eight weeks.

“I’m feeling good, I feel fit and this is the best I have felt all year so I am definitely don’t feel like I am back too soon,” Howell told the Swindon Advertiser.

“It’s hard to tell how the daily stress of golf will build up on me, but of course that would build up if I wasn’t here, just playing at home as well.

“I’ve felt zero pain so far, so I’ll just have to manage my body as best I can from this point forward.

“I have had minimal practice this week, I played my practice but did no ball hitting, I feel I am moving better by the day.

“It’s nice to be back out there.”

This week’s event sees professional golfers team up with celebrities in Scotland, playing on the Old Course at St Andrews, the Championship Course at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Last year Howell was paired with Hollywood actor Hugh Grant, alongside whom he also won the professional title in 2013, but this year he will play alongside Downton Abbey actor Matthew Goode.

“I only played nine holes with Hugh last year, and I left him in the lurch a little bit to go and play with a couple of other guys,” he added.

“It was a bit of a disaster and he’s not here at all this year.

“I’ve got another actor though in Matthew Goode. I don’t know him, so I’m looking forward to meeting him and having a good few days of golf.

“It will be a good test of my body. There isn’t too much rough this week so it is a pretty nice week to come back for.”

Wiltshire’s Jordan Smith and Laurie Canter are also in action with the former being paired with businessman Art Moossmann, while Canter has a safe pair of hands in former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.