Woods finished just one shot behind winner, Paul Casey, after a final day where as many as five golfers either led or had a share of the lead at the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour in Florida.
Very importantly however Woods made so many doubters believers again and opened up the door for what promises to be an exciting few weeks including the possibility of a fifth Masters title.
Woods was frustrated for much of the day when caught between clubs on so many of his approaches but in a performance which gave us all a glimpse into the past he kept his hopes alive throughout the round and when he holed a ridiculous 45-foot birdie putt at the 17th he kept the door open for an historic victory.
It was not to be as an approach at the 72nd hole left him too much work to do but the crowds who had flocked to the event were hardly let down and will now be amongst those who believe further PGA Tour and major victories are now not beyond the 42 year old.
"It was one of those days when I kept getting the half club and couldn't quite get the full club," said Woods immediately after his round.
"I have gotten a little better than what I was a couple of weeks ago at the Honda and I keep getting a little better and a little sharper and although today was not as sharp as I would like to have liked I had a good shot at winning this golf tournament. A couple of putts here and there and it could have been a different story."
The putt that kept Woods' hopes alive until the 72nd hole.
Casey fell five shots off the pace when he bogeyed the 3rd hole but he powered his way back into the tournament when he birdied six of his next 10 holes and recorded a round of 65 on the demanding Copperhead layout.
It was just the second PGA Tour title for the 40-year-old Englishman who has been as high as number 3 in the world in the time between his last win in the US at the 2009 Shell Houston Open and this week's victory.
He has been rewarded for remarkable consistency over such a long period and with the Masters not too far away he too will be anticipating a very special week at Augusta National especially given some outstanding performances there in recent years.
Casey won by one over Woods and Patrick Reed who bogeyed his final hole to miss a playoff while Sergio Garcia threw out signals for a potential successful defence of his Masters title with a final round of 65 to match that of Casey's and finished 4th.
Garcia becomes a father in the next week or so and will no doubt have much of his attention on that milestone in his life but he is on track for another good week at Augusta National.
Adam Scott slipped a few places to finish 16th after his final round of 72, but continued his progress after a slow start to his 2018 campaign.
Amongst the other Australians, Cameron Smith finished 46th, Aaron Baddeley 48th and Rod Pampling 59th.
The PGA Tour now heads east across Florida to Orlando and the Arnold Palmer Championship which Tiger Woods will attempt to win for an amazing 9th occasion.
Who would now believe that such a win is not possible?
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