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Tune-up complete, Woods' wait nearly over

AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods completed his tune-up for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Wednesday, playing the back nine at Firestone with Arjun Atwal before retreating to the practice putting green for more than an hour.

Most PGA Tour observers agree Woods’ swing looks better than the last time he played the circuit in May at The Players Championship, where he withdrew after a front-nine 42 with a left knee and Achilles tendon injury, and his swing coach Sean Foley echoed his comments from a day earlier saying that he has been sharp in his practice sessions.

“No one expects him to come out and play well,” Rory McIlroy said. “I'm sure he expects himself to come out and play and compete, but given the length of layoff and considering that he's only been able to hit full shots for the last two weeks or whatever, it would be an unbelievable effort if he was to come back and compete.”

Woods tees off at Firestone, where he has won seven times, at 1:40 p.m. (ET) and will be paired with British Open champion Darren Clarke.