ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods will make his long-anticipated return to competition next week, announcing Thursday that he has received the green light to play next week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
"Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week," Woods told his Twitter followers in an early-evening post. "Excited to get back out there!"
The World Golf Championships event is played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Woods owns seven wins at the venue, which made it the logical place for the former world No.1 to test his injured left leg before year's final major at the PGA Championship.
Woods suffered a sprained left knee and Achilles' tendon during the Masters -- an injury originally classified as "minor" but limited him to just nine holes of competition over the past 3 1/2 months.
His last tournament golf came 11 weeks ago at The Players Championship, where he withdrew halfway through his opening round. The winner of 14 majors later pulled out of four more starts, including the U.S. Open and British Open, when doctors advised him not to push his recovery.
It marked the second time in the past four years that Woods' balky left knee has kept him out of back-to-back majors championships. Reconstructive surgery after his 2008 U.S. Open sidelined him for the British Open and PGA.
Asked before the British Open whether he would be surprised if he didn't play another tournament in 2011, Woods said, "I'd be very surprised, because I'm progressing."
Even so, swing coach Sean Foley told CBSsports.com early this week that they had not yet resumed hitting balls on the practice range again.
During the layoff, Woods has fallen to No. 21 in the world rankings -- his lowest standing since January 1997. He would win his first Masters title three months later, vaulting to the top of the rankings.
Woods also created headlines last week when he disclosed that he'd fired longtime caddie Steve Williams, ending a 12-year partnership. Golf Channel reported late Thursday that Bryon Bell, a longtime friend who now heads Woods' design firm, will serve as caddie next week.
Williams now works full time for Australia's Adam Scott.
Last year, the WGC-Bridgestone was the site of one of Woods' worst performances in his comeback from a sex scandal that cost him his marriage. Woods never shot better than 2-over-par 72 in any round, finishing 30 shots behind winner Hunter Mahan in a tie for next-to-last.