Having slid dramatically down the world rankings, Jason Day admits he is "a little behind schedule" on rehabilitating the back injury that forced him to withdraw from December's Australian Open and Presidents Cup.
But the former world No.1 is beginning to see positive physical results and is confident of reclaiming top form on the US PGA Tour this year, although he concedes that this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in California may have come too soon.
"I'm coming off eight weeks of rehab and very little practice, so am I expecting a lot? I don't know," Day said.
"I can only putt for 30 minutes a day; typically I'm putting for two-and-a-half hours every day in my off weeks. Obviously, I'm a little bit behind schedule.
"I was on a ball count last week; I started at (hitting) 50 balls (at a time) and moved myself into the 100s, so I'm quite pleased with how things are progressing."
The sublimely gifted Day - who has twice previously won at Torrey Pines - has spent the majority of his US PGA Tour career ranked within the world's top 10 golfers but has plummeted to 44th after a lacklustre 2019.
The Queenslander's last US Tour win came in May 2018, which was his second that year.
Day went through four caddies last year, including a brief and unsuccessful stint with New Zealand's Steve Williams - former bagman to Tiger Woods.
His back injury forced him to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and receive treatment on-course during the Masters in April, where he tied fifth.
But the 12-time PGA Tour winner has backed his ability and trademark work ethic to send him soaring back up the rankings.
"I'm not worried about the world ranking. I need to focus on just getting healthy and trying to be 100 per cent confident in my ability," he said.
"With world rankings, I know all it takes is good play to get back out there pretty quick.
"You win a couple of times on the West Coast and you're kind of near back to the top 10. So I'm not too worried about it.
"I feel like things are different this year and I feel like I'll have a better year."
Day will play alongside defending champion Justin Rose and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth for the opening rounds this week.
Other Australians in the field at Torrey Pines are Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Matt Jones, Cameron Davis, Aaron Baddeley, Cameron Percy, John Senden and Rhein Gibson.