Charl Schwartzel cannot wait to get back out on the golf course in his first event for two months at the Tshwane Open.
The ten-time European Tour winner was in fine form before the festive period as he finished in a tie for fourth at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, before winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship for the fourth time and finishing in the top ten at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The home favourite was then laid low by a stomach virus which forced him to miss The BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni, but he makes his first appearance of the calendar year at Pretoria Country Club this week feeling refreshed after his break.
"We got sick through Christmas, myself and my daughter," he said. "It just made us very weak.
"I was disappointed to miss the South African Open, being a tournament which is high up on my list, but I was just not ready to play.
"After missing that tournament which I like so much, not practising, I figured it's actually going to be a really good time to take some time off and be ready. Just give myself a decent break and start preparing better for when the year does start.
"I'm very happy that the Tshwane Open has fallen where it has so that I can start my first tournament of the year here. I love playing in South Africa and I've had some good success around this golf course in the past. I've played it a lot as a junior and an amateur.
"I'm very familiar with it so it's very fitting for me to start my year here
I'm feeling very refreshed and I'm very keen to start playing. All the things that I've planned have sort of fallen into place - Charl Schwartzel
"The practising and the mental side of it and all of it has gone according to plan. I'm now keen to get going. I've had enough practice rounds and I want to play tournaments now."
The 2011 Masters Tournament winner has a formidable record in his homeland, having claimed seven of his European Tour wins on South African soil, but this will be his debut at the Tshwane Open.
And with a field including recent first-time winners Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous, Schwartzel knows he will face a stiff local challenge if he wants to make it home win number eight.
"I think it's such a good thing that Brandon and Haydn have broken through," he said. "It's very healthy for the game and its great for South Africa and it's good for us.
"It makes us work harder. We're basically in the prime of our careers and it's nice to have these guys coming up and pushing and making us work harder."