The 33-year-old believes he irritated his shoulder back in August and is now stepping up his recovery in a bid to be fighting fit for the Masters in April.
"A lot of hard work went into me being here," he said. "It was a race against time to really get back playing and get back strong. If I'm honest, I've only really been hitting balls for about a week to 10 days now. Certainly, I want to be 100% come April."
Russell Knox, with a string of solid showings on the PGA Tour this season, and Martin Laird are both in action at the Riviera club.
In Colombia, Jimmy Gunn, the Dornoch exile, begins his quest to join his fellow Scots on the main PGA circuit when he launches his campaign on the second-tier Web.com Tour.
On the women's front, Catriona Matthew tees off her 20th season on the LPGA Tour in the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. She is joined in a strong field by the former Ladies Scottish Open champion, Carly Booth.