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Tiger Woods returns to action this week at FirestoneFor up-to-the-minute Tiger Woods and golf news, follow Devil Ball on Twitter, Facebook and now Google+.

So it looks like Tiger Woods' 2011 isn't over after all.

Late Thursday afternoon, Woods made the surprising announcement that he'll return to tournament action next week at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club. This doesn't exactly jibe with swing coach Sean Foley's report earlier this week that Woods hadn't even begun hitting at the driving range, but perhaps Woods has been practicing on his own at home. He's got the room, you know.

Woods has played exactly nine holes of competitive golf since his memorable run at Augusta earlier this year; knee and Achilles injuries forced him out of The Players Championship on the first day and kept him out of two majors. According to his website, Woods sustained both injuries during the third round of the Masters, when he tried to hit out of pine straw on the 17th hole. But now, according to his Twitter account, he's ... well, let's let him tell you:

Tiger Woods returns to action this week at Firestone

Bridgestone is one of Woods' best events; he's won the tournament seven times, most recently in 2009. He's finished in the top 4 in all but one of the 11 years he's played the event, the lone exception being last year when he tied for 78th.

As for who will man the bag now that Steve Williams is gone: Bryon Bell, Woods' longtime friend and confidant, will serve as caddy, the Golf Channel's Win McMurray reported.

It's likely this means Woods will play in the PGA Championship in Atlanta in two weeks; his availability and eligibility for the FedEx Cup Playoffs remains in question.

Either way ... he's back. And now that he's here, we have a few thoughts on how he could continue to rebuild his tattered image:

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