But then it was a similar story a year ago at the Hero World Challenge when Woods found himself poised for another comeback from injury.
Woods, 41, has not played in 10 months because of a fourth back operation and after the aborted return at the start of this campaign Thursday will be just his eighth competitive round in 27 months.
Last week, Woods played a casual four-ball match at Trump National Golf Club with three of the biggest names in golf: President Donald Trump, the world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, and the eight-time PGA Tour victor and current Fox Sports analyst Brad Faxon. "He was happy, and more than anything, finally pain-free".
"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it's just remarkable", Woods told Golf Channel.
"I think more than anything, he looked at ease". The 14-time major victor last teed it up at the Dubai Desert Classic, withdrawing due to back complications from the overseas flight.
"I'm looking forward to competing again and trying to find the rhythm and feel of tournament golf".
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Playing a casual 18 holes with Brad Faxon, Dustin Johnson and the President of the United States, Woods was said to be bombing tee shots further than everyone, including Johnson. I've progressed over a few days, hitting driver a little hard and harder and harder until it was comfortable enough to hit it full. The filmmaker said that the one-time golfing great was in the "sunken place" after images of the Woods and Trump surfaced. "The ball flight, the sound off the club, all of it was right there".
"Probably on the 10 holes that they were both hitting driver, Tiger hit it past Dustin half the time and Dustin hit it past Tiger half the time".
The long-hitting Johnson confirmed it.
After finishing 15th at Albany, an 18-man field, Woods would play just three more rounds, two at the Farmers Insurance Open and one at the Dubai Desert Classic, before heading back to his surgeon and the DL. "That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks". "It's been a struggle for years".
'We didn't have a match and played for fun, ' Woods added.
"I haven't really competed in two years, really".