Tiger Woods played nine practice holes Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass, normally not a newsworthy event as he prepares for the Players Championship, which begins Thursday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. But the warmup round was noteworthy because it was the first golf he had played since the Masters almost a month earlier.

Woods suffered injuries to his knee and Achilles’ tendon during the third round of the Masters, and he dropped out of last week’s Wells Fargo Championship. He said he hit balls in earnest for the first time Monday.

In an interview prior to his practice round, he said he was never worried the ailments would keep him out of next month’s U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. “That was never a problem,” he said. After the practice round, he said that tournament is his foremost priority.

“The whole idea is that I peak four times a year, and I’m trying to get ready for Congressional, and I need some playing time,” Woods said. “I missed playing last week. … I really want to get out there and play and compete.”

Woods, who hasn’t won a tournament since November 2009, said he is taking anti-inflammatories, treating the injuries with ice and undergoing soft-tissue treatment.