Rory McIlroy says he "crossed that line" by winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational and is optimistic that ending his drought will lead to a fruitful 2018.
The four-time major champion finished with a sublime eight-under 64 to win by three shots at Bay Hill on the PGA Tour on Sunday.
It was McIlroy's first victory since September 2016 and the former world number one said the long-awaited success served as vindication for fine-tuning his game.
"It was just more a validation that what I've been doing has been correct and the work that I put in during the off-season, it all just came together," the Northern Irishman said at a media conference ahead of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
"I stayed really patient, I thought after five holes on Sunday it might not be my day - I was even-par through five, I'd missed a few chances, I was four behind Henrik [Stenson]."
"Validation and optimism that I can go ahead and do this more often.
"I feel like I've crossed that line that I needed to, I hadn't won in the past 18 months and it was a real validation and I'm optimistic about not just the next few weeks, but the whole season.
"It's good to get a win early, I've got all that great stuff to fall back on from how I handled everything on Sunday."
McIlroy, who celebrated his victory with two glasses of wine and a bowl of ice cream before falling asleep watching the highlights of the final round at Bay Hill, does not consider himself to be a favourite to claim back-to-back victories in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club this week.
He added: "It's always hard to call 18-hole match play. I've always liked this tournament because I think it's the least pressured event of the year.
"Anyone can beat anyone in 18 holes, the field is the top guys in the world, you don't have any easy matches. Over 18 holes, I remember at Dove Mountain one year, Ben Crane was like seven under through nine and beat me 8 and 7 or 8 and 6.
"You can run into someone like that, who has a really good day, or you can get the luck of the draw and the guys you play against don't play that good. It's hard to pick a favourite."
McIlroy will face Brian Harman, Jhonattan Vegas and Peter Uihlein in the group stage in Texas.
|Lakers ´optimistic´ about LeBron injury|
|Giants produce mammoth fourth quarter against Nymburk|
|Austin FC to join MLS in 2021|
|Henry, Vieira look forward to reunion when Monaco host Nice|
|Barcelona reject Neymar phone call reports|
|Wentz is the quarterback ´going forward´, says Eagles coach Pederson|
|Gattuso: Higuain has not asked to leave|
|Drew Brees by the Opta numbers: 10 facts for QB´s milestone birthday|
|Harry Kane injury: England captain´s history of ankle woe|
|Harry Kane injury: Opta numbers suggest Spurs struggles|
|Harry Kane injury: Tottenham´s options in striker´s absence|
|Allegri: Supercoppa clash practice for Champions League knockouts|
|First in clean sheets, second to Schmeichel in titles – Cech´s Premier League career in Opta numbers|
|Warrington sign England star Widdop|
|Gatland confident Wales can win Six Nations|
|Fulham sign Netherlands international Babel|
|Harry Kane injury: Games the Tottenham striker will miss|
|Simeone focused on matches, not transfer dealings|
|Iran v Iraq: Pressure off for Queiroz & Katanec|
|Vietnam v Yemen: Kocian keeps the faith|
|Darren Bravo back in West Indies Test side for first time since 2016|
|Kane out until March with ankle injury|
|South Korea v China: Son arrives for Group C dead rubber|
|Kyrgyzstan v Philippines: Eriksson remains hopeful|
|McGrath to miss Six Nations, Sexton nearing fitness|
|Kohli savours Dhoni ´classic´|
|Ford: People obsess over Farrell fly-half battle|
|EFL asks Leeds to explain ´spygate´ scandal|
|No alarms for Djokovic and Zverev, Raonic masters Kyrgios|
|Australia 3 Syria 2: Rogic breaks hearts with stoppage-time winner|
|Palestine 0 Jordan 0: Socceroos winner keeps hopes alive for Lions of Canaan|
|Halep: The results don´t matter any more|
|Hard work for Halep as Serena and Osaka sail through|
|Napoli director to take legal action over ´false´ quotes about Rog move|
|Alexander-Arnold facing absence of up to four weeks|
|Solari: We only have one number nine at Real Madrid|
|Halfpenny & Young named in Wales´ Six Nations squad|
|Crawford v Khan confirmed for April 20|
|Centurion Kohli inspires India to level ODI series|
|Wagner hails Huddersfield togetherness after exit|
|Hughes to join Bristol, Le Roux also leaving Wasps|
|ICC appoints Sawhney as new CEO|
|Forest appoint club legend O´Neill as new manager|
|Halep digs deep to gain revenge over Kanepi|
|Cech to retire at the end of the season|
|Brisbane Roar 0 Melbourne Victory 5: Barbarouses treble sinks Roar|
|´Struggling´ Azarenka breaks down in tears following Australian Open exit|
|Dominant Djokovic coasts through in Melbourne|
|Allardyce admits Huddersfield appointment is ´highly unlikley´|
|Choupo-Mouting: Manchester United have changed|
|Faletau set to miss Six Nations with another broken arm|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings into Chelsea chants|
|Serena´s the greatest ever - Bouchard relishing second-round clash|
|Mbappe can become the new Pele - Pele|
|Wade needs to learn quickly if he´s to make NFL switch a success, says Sanu|
|Azarenka beaten in first Australian Open match since 2016|
|Kings use balanced scoring attack to top Trail Blazers|
|Hewitt laughs off Tomic criticism|
|We love Ederson the way he is - Guardiola on Man City´s sweeper keeper|
|Serena: The greatest win of my career|
|Salah will be motivated by criticism – Henderson|
|He was always going to be good – Surprise 2005 Challenger loss wasn´t stopping Murray|
|Harden sets NBA record for most consecutive 30-point games|
|Spurs honour Parker with video tribute during his return to San Antonio|
|Irving: I´ll never question Celtics team-mates publicly again|
|Serena steamrolls Maria in Australian Open return|
|Smith-Schuster doesn´t want Steelers to trade Brown|
|Lloris: Spurs ready to fight for titles without Kane|
|Popovich on facing Parker: It´ll look weird to see him in another uniform|
|Eagles QB Wentz says back issues ´should be fine´|