An ailing lower back forced the four-time PGA Tour winner to skip the last five weeks.
'I had an injury in the off-season, basically just due to over use last year,' Begay said during his Wednesday practice round at the TPC at Heron Bay. 'I didn't let it fully recover, came back too early.'
Begay played in the first three events of the season. He finished 32nd in the 33-man field at the Mercedes Championships, and missed the cut in both the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Phoenix Open.
'I didn't want to risk missing the Masters by pushing myself, so I decided to take four or five weeks off after Phoenix,' said Begay.
Begay is coming off his second consecutive multiple-win season on the PGA Tour. Last year, he won the FedEx St. Jude Classic and the Canon Greater Hartford Open in consecutive weeks.
Begay ended the season 20th on the money list with over $1.8 million. He also garnered a spot on the Presidents Cup Team, where he compiled a 3-2 record.
'Right now, I'm about 70-75 percent,' said Begay. 'My play and the activity are not making it worse. I'm at a point where I can at least go day in and day out without hurting it.'
The 28-year-old Native American says he will play in the next three tournaments, skipping the BellSouth Classic, which is the week prior to the Masters.
'I'm just trying to get tuned up for Augusta,' Begay said. 'By not playing before, it reduces the number of events I get to play (to earn points) for the Ryder Cup, but I'd rather play healthy.'
Begay is currently 22nd on the 2001 Ryder Cup standings.