AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods was on the practice range just as the sun began to rise Tuesday over Firestone, his first time on a PGA Tour golf course in nearly three months.
Even as the season heads toward a conclusion, Woods can't wait to get started.
"I'm excited to compete, to play," Woods said. "And hopefully, to win the tournament."
That part about Woods hasn't changed.
It's everything else in the world of golf he once ruled that is so much different. Woods showed up at the Bridgestone Invitational at No. 28, his lowest world ranking since the start of his first full season on the PGA Tour. He has a new caddie -- at least temporarily -- in Bryon Bell, a childhood friend who now heads up a design business that has been slowed by the economy.
"The great thing is I don't feel a thing," Woods said. "It feels solid. It feels stable. No pain. That's one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back, is that I want to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this."