(Reuters) - Tiger Woods returns to competition at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina eager to see the benefits of the extended break he took after finishing in a share of 32nd place at last month’s U.S. Masters.
Woods, 42, said it felt great to shut things down after Augusta National, where he finished 16 shots back of champion Patrick Reed, and focus on what he needs to do to return to winning ways.
“I threw my clubs in the closet for about 10 days,” Woods told reporters after playing in the pro-am on Wednesday.
“I got away from the game, didn’t touch a club, didn’t make a golf swing.”
Woods, who this week will chase his second victory at Quail Hollow following his triumph in 2007, will tee off in Thursday’s opening round alongside Reed and reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.
While Woods took a break from swinging a club after the Masters, he used the down-time to work on his physical fitness.
“I started to lift a little bit, but I just tried to make sure I kept flexible,” said Woods, who returned to competition this year after spinal fusion surgery last April.
“But then I started grinding to get my muscle strength back and, eventually, my speed. And I’ve got them all back.”
Woods will use a new set of irons this week at Quail Hollow after failing to produce any magic with his old set at Augusta.
“I didn’t hit my irons very good. I drove it great on the weekend, but I kept hitting the ball above the hole or in the wrong spot,” he said.
“And I had defensive putts on most of the days. Even on Sunday when I shot four-under par, I was in some tough spots. I needed to be more precise and I wasn’t.
“I need to continue working on it and get sharp and hopefully this will be a good week.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom