Having flirted with victory at the US PGA Championship, where he finished second, Woods revelled in being back among the winners in Atlanta on Sunday.
Justin Rose, despite a final-round 73 that dropped him out of contention for the Tour Championship, birdied the last hole to capture the FedEx Cup and a $10 million bonus. "The people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I'm pretty close to, they've really helped throughout this process the last few 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.
Woods led the final round throughout, starting out with a three-shot lead, and finished 11-under-par at East Lake. He made a comeback with a birdie at No. 13 and had consecutive bogeys during the 15th and 16th holes. "So yes, I appreciate it a little bit more than I did because I don't take it for granted that I'm going to have another decade, two decades in my future of playing golf at this level".
But, of course, these are different times, Woods is a different golfer, and McIlroy and Rose have rarely, if at all, had to contend with him at his peak.
It had been exactly 1,876 days since Woods enjoyed his last victory. He is now just two short of Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour title record of 82.
But that needle looked broken beyond fix as days without a win grew to months, the months without a win grew to years.
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".
"I kept saying 'Hey, I could still play this out of bounds.' But once I got the ball on the green I gave (caddie) Joey (LaCava) a high five because I knew it was done".
They had to feel it, touch it, see if with their own eyes. The points ended with Rose No. 1, followed by Woods, DeChambeau, Johnson and Billy Horschel.
"There was a point in time I didn't know if I'd ever do this again", Woods said. His return is not unlikely as Jack Nicklaus' when he won the 1986 Masters aged 46, 24 years after his first major and six years since his last, let alone that of Ben Hogan, who won six of his nine majors after the auto crash in 1949 that doctors feared might mean he never walked again.
Only when he was on the green, the last one to putt after Rory McIlroy tapped in for birdie, did it start to sink in.
Woods' stunning return to form has also seen him return to the Ryder Cup as a player for the first time since 2012.
Woods competed in all four of golf's majors this year, with his best finish coming at the PGA Championship where he placed second.