Tiger Woods had a noticeable bounce in his step after competing in the Frys.com Open pro-am on Wednesday, and has targeted victory this week in his first PGA Tour event in nearly two months.
Though Woods has struggled for form for most of this year while battling leg injuries and working on the fourth swing change of his professional career, he said he no longer had any limits on his practice time after regaining full fitness.
I'm happy with how everything has progressed from tee to green, the former world number one told reporters at CordeValle Golf Club on Wednesday. I've had a chance to practice and work on everything.
That's something that I hadn't been able to do for a while, so I have to say I'm very pleased with every facet of my game.
My comfort's coming back, being able to hit shots and go out and play 36 holes a day. That's something I hadn't done because I just hadn't had the time.
Asked how he would measure success this week in his first tournament since the PGA Championship in August, he replied: Getting a 'W' (a win).
Woods, whose world ranking has slipped to 51st, has played only six rounds of golf on the PGA Tour since the Masters in April when he tied for fourth place.
He was forced to pull out of the Quail Hollow Championship in May because of mild strains to his left knee and left Achilles' tendon and those same injuries led to his withdrawal from the Players the following week.
Woods eventually returned to the U.S. circuit for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August, tying for 37th, but he then missed the cut at the PGA Championship, the final major of the year, and failed to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs.
It's always easy to come back from a layoff when you already know what to do, the 14-times major champion said. That's very simple. I've done it before and I've done it a bunch of times.
But I'm implementing a new golf swing, and in order to do that, you have to get the reps (repetitions) in, and I hadn't gotten the reps in.
I have to hit thousands of balls to do that and to where it feels natural. I've done that now.
Comfortably the best player of his generation, Woods has not won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters and there has been widespread speculation about his likely form at CordeValle this week.
For the first time in his career, he will be competing in one of the PGA Tour's Fall Series events, which generally attract only the journeymen on the U.S. circuit.
Asked if it felt a little strange competing in the Frys.com Open after challenging for a major title in his previous tour start, Woods replied: If you think about it, I haven't really played a whole lot in the last couple years.
So just getting out here and competing, it's fun because I just haven't done it a whole lot.
Woods gave an early indication of his possible form at CordeValle by firing a course-record 62 in practice at The Medalist in Florida last week.
I hadn't posted a low round in a long time, so that's something that felt good to do, he said with a smile. It was a pretty easy round and I left a few out there.
Woods is scheduled to tee off in Thursday's opening round at 12:10 pm (1610 GMT) in the company of 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and U.S. amateur Patrick Cantlay.