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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 08/02/2011

Tiger Woods returns to golf: ‘I’m good to go ... and here I am’


Tiger Woods had no explanation for what that is on his chin. (Mark Duncan / AP)
Updated at 10:25 a.m.

The report on Tiger Woods’s left leg and the knee injury that has sidelined him all summer: “I don’t feel a thing. No pain,” Woods said in a press conference this morning ahead of his return to golf at the Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.

“I’m good to go ... doctors gave me the clearance to go, so here I am.”

Sporting chin hair (a divot?) and looking rested and relaxed, Woods spoke about about a number of subjects, including firing his caddie, his injuries and how he spent his time off. The injury that he suffered at the Masters, Woods said, initially was minor, “but I came back and played the Players [in early May]. If I had sat out a week or two [it would have healed]. ... I probably shouldn’t have [played in the Players].”

At the age of 35 and after, well, everything, Woods said he still gets a kick out of golf. “Trying to beat these boys — that’s fun. That’s fun. Getting out there and trying to win golf tournaments, whether you win or fail, it’s a rush. It’s so much fun ... trying to pull off the shots you’ve done in practice. That’s fun.”

As for firing his long-time caddie, Steve Williams, Woods said: “I thought it was time for a change. Steve and I had just an amazing run. He’s a hell of a caddie. He’s helped my career and I’ve helped his as well. I felt very comfortable with the move.” As for Williams’ comment that he’d wasted years with Woods, “That’s what he said and what he feels.” He fired Williams in person, Woods said. “We had a very nice conversation. We did it man-to-man.”

His boyhood friend, Bryon Bell, will be on the bag. An executive with Woods’ business ventures, Bell hasn’t been a caddie to Woods in over a decade. He will not, though, be the caddie permanently. Woods was clear about that. “No. No. Have you seen his legs???”

Woods spent nearly three months waiting for his knee and Achilles injuries to heal. It wasn’t a waste, though. The best thing, he said, was getting to “be with my kids. By far that’s the best thing.”

Filed at 9:45 a.m.

After completing a practice round at Firestone Country Club, Tiger Woods will answer questions from the media shortly.

Woods no doubt will discuss the knee/Achilles injury that has sidelined him most of the summer, his expectation for playing in the last major of the year (the PGA Championship next week) and his decision to fire long-time caddie Steve Williams.

Woods will play in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational beginning Thursday, his first tournament since May.

By  |  11:02 AM ET, 08/02/2011

 
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