By Mark Lamport-Stokes
KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Frustrated by injury problems last year, Australian Jason Day says he has benefited from a few month's rest and is in fine fettle ahead of this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort.
The world number eight returned to competition last month for two post-season events in Florida where he displayed encouraging form, and will make his first appearance on the 2014-15 PGA Tour when he tees off in Friday's first round.
"The game feels nice," Day told reporters on Thursday after dovetailing effectively with his partners in the Tournament of Champions pro-am competition.
"I didn't play any in the fall (autumn) due to the injuries that I had to take care of but I am excited to be back here. Looking forward to a good week.
"I played two tournaments early to mid-December of last year and I played great at Tiger's event," said Day, referring to the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge, where he placed fifth.
"I'm just hoping the confidence in the game rolls over into the 2015 season."
Day booked his place in the elite winners-only field at Kapalua by clinching his second PGA Tour victory at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last February but his 2014 campaign was interrupted by injuries.
Following his WGC triumph, he competed in only the Masters during a two-month spell due to an injured left thumb and he withdrew from the BMW Championship, the penultimate FedExCup playoff event, in September because of a recurring back injury.
"I know the back is going to flare up every now and then but as long as I don't slack a little bit here and there (with his fitness regimen), I should be on top of it," said Day.
"The thumb issue is a little bit different because it's bone-on-bone, kind of hitting each other every time I hit balls. It's tough because this is what I like to do, this is what I love to do. I want to be out here competing.
"Right now, I feel great. I'm definitely not thinking about the thumb, not thinking about the back. I'm just out there to try and play golf, try and beat the other guys that are in the field this week."
Day will tee off in Friday's opening round with American world number 11 Matt Kuchar at Kapalua's Plantation Course where 34 players are in the elite field.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)