Fowler ran away with the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas with an extraordinary Sunday 61 but even the charismatic 28-year-old had to take a back seat to the 14-time major winner and tournament host.
Fowler’s eventual margin of victory was four after starting seven shots behind Charley Hoffman but Woods’ four-day total of 8-under was the focus of the week.
After two promising opening rounds and a disappointing Saturday, the final round was a blend of the two for Woods, six birdies and an eagle offset by a double and two bogeys, the last a three-putt from birdie range at the 72nd hole.
Despite the clumsy finish, the general feeling is that the former World Number One has shown enough this week to suggest he will be at least competitive in 2018.
His driving, an Achilles heel for several years, was mostly impressive as he easily kept up with his younger playing partners and found plenty of fairways.
His iron play was understandably somewhat rusty, the only real question remark over his short game though with all players struggling on the grainy Bermuda grass it is difficult to make a definitive judgment.
Woods eventually finished T9 in the 18-man field and seemed pleased with his overall effort when he joined commentators Terry Gannon and Gary Koch in the booth after the round.
“I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds, that wasn’t going to be an issue,” he told Gannon when asked what he took away from the week.
“The issue was going to be how was my scoring going to be, how was my feel, how am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while.
“And that took a little bit of time.”
Despite some less than stellar play, Woods said his overall assessment was positive.
“I was still scratchy with my irons, I drove it pretty good all week, made some good putts but overall I’m very pleased,” he said.
“I showed some good signs, I hit some really good shots out there and I’m ready for a bright future.”
In keeping with the more light-hearted Woods of recent times he even had a one-liner ready when asked if he had any pain from his surgically repaired back.
“No, no pain,” he said. “Pain in my head from some of the shots I hit,” he added with a laugh.
While Woods’ return overshadowed everything in the golf world for the week, Fowler’s performance shouldn’t be overlooked.
Seven straight birdies to start his round and an 8-under 28 on the opening nine was extraordinary golf and while the tournament isn’t one of the game’s important events the American will take plenty of confidence from his performance.
“I knew coming here was just going to have to rely on our year and how we played in Mexico and its nice to see the game hang around,” he said.
“Now we can build on some things and make next year a special one.”
Hoffman finished outright second after an even par final round with Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth sharing third at 12-under and five behind Fowler.
THE INCREDIBLE CAREER OF TIGER WOODS:
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