Back problems and surgeries brought Woods' career to a halt but the 14-time major champion celebrated his first win since 2013 after triumphing by two shots at East Lake on Sunday.
On Sunday, at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, it came in what was once typical Tiger fashion.
Woods admitted to feeling emotional walking up the 18th hole, with a throng of spectators following him up the fairway.
"But once I got the ball on the green I gave (caddie) Joey (LaCava) a high five because it was done".
"It was a grind out there, " Woods said. The fight, the grind, the tough conditions. You know, I've explained throughout the year that I just didn't know whether - when this would ever happen again.
Jason Day was the leading Australian at the Tour Championship in 18 spot at -2, while Cameron Smith finished at even and Marc Leishman at +1.
"All of a sudden it started hitting me that I was going to win the tournament, and I started tearing up a little bit".
"Pops would be very proud of the way I went out today", he said.
"I think now that he's gotten over the hump, you may see more of the old Tiger that we've all been waiting for over the last couple of years".
"Simple math says that if I play a clean card, that guys behind me have to shoot 67 to force into extra, " he said.
April 1, 2014: Woods announces he will miss the Masters for the first time in his career after undergoing microdiscectomy surgery on a pinched nerve in his back after being advised to do so for his "immediate and long-term health".
Woods started Sunday with a three-shot lead, but struggled during the back nine and dropped to No. 10.
It is fascinating that Woods has evolved into the people's golfer, a domain he couldn't possible inhabit after tales of his extra-marital affairs emerged.
There was also a moment of magic from the former world number one on the seventh, when he drilled a 172-yard approach shot to five feet and then tapped in for birdie.
Behind Woods, McIlroy is lurking menacingly after carding a four-under-par 66.
A birdie on the 13th was quickly undone by back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes, dropping Woods' advantage at the top back to just two shots.
But neither put on any pressure. Rose would automatically capture the title with a win, and unless there is a big rally by DeChambeau, he would likely capture the overall title with a third- or fourth-place finish.
Woods was made to sweat however after a shaky three-over-par 73 on his final round.
But on Sunday, nearly everything felt different, even as Woods regained a big piece of his past.