He's no longer the world's number one golfer and he's got a new caddie and has been battling a nagging knee injury, but Tiger Woods says he's "good to go" in making his PGA return.

Woods returned to the golf course for the first time in 12 weeks Tuesday for nine practice holes before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio and met with the media afterward, proclaiming, "My expectation is to win."

Woods said his rehabiliation process has gone so well he said he considered entering last week's Greenbrier Classic.

Instead, he opted for one more week off on the cautious side. When Woods was asked how long it's been since he felt so good, he replied "years."

Woods last made a nine-hole appearances at the Players Championship in the spring, but he withdrew from that tournament after aggravating a sprained left knee and injured Achilles tendon suffered the month before at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia.

After pulling out of the Players Championship, Woods withdrew from four more tournaments, including the U.S. Open and the British Open to rehabilitate the injuries.

Woods said he had practiced with the putter and pitching wedges for more than a month but only started hitting his driver again "two or three weeks ago."

"The shots felt very crisp, very clean," said Woods. "I was very pleased..."

The tournament begins Thursday, and Woods will be pairing with a new caddie, longtime friend Byron Bell. Last month, Woods released long-time caddie Steve Williams, ending a 12-year relationship. Woods said he has no regrets about releasing Williams.

"I felt it was time for a change," said Woods.

Williams, however, was less happy about the change. He said he "wasted two years" with Woods and said he wanted to write a tell-all book about Woods' marital and on-course troubles.

"We had a nice conversation," said Woods, of Williams. "It was a tough conversation, but we said what we needed to say to each other -- face to face and man to man."