Five years and four back surgeries later, the most transcendent golfer in history was on the brink of completing his comeback and securing his 80th PGA Tour title.
The 42-year-old, 14-time major victor carded a one-over-par 71 at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Course to claim the 80th PGA Tour title of his glittering career.
If you're wondering if the draw of Tiger Woods to golf fans has diminished, take a look at the scenes that unfolded on the 18th hole of the final round as Woods and McIlroy approached the green.
Tiger Woods hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation during his second round at the TOUR Championship, finishing at 7 under for the tournament.
"After he hit his second shot to the par-5 18th safely in a bunker in front of the green, the crowd came through the ropes and followed behind in a chaotic celebration", Ferguson wrote.
As Tiger Woods strode down the 18th fairway at at Atlanta's East Lake club, thousands of baying fans following close behind, the world of golf and beyond was once again in thrall to the United States star.
Woods said he knows his late father, Earls Woods, would have been proud of his win and remarked that his children finally know that he is half decent at this golf game. Woods admitted that he loved "every bit of it, the fight and the grind and the club conditions".More news: Pres. Trump Signs United States-Korea Freed Trade Agreement
"I've still got, I feel like, a chance to play some more golf and maybe I'll keep chipping away at that number and maybe surpass it". I don't know, 20 years ago, hell, I thought I was going to play for another 30 years.
"It's obviously exciting for the tournament, it's exciting for golf in general that he's up there but for me, all I can do is concentrate on myself".
He said: "I was having a hard time not crying coming up the last hole".
FOR the first time in 1876 days, Tiger Woods has tasted a tour victory. For the two European Ryder Cup team stars, a three-shot deficit may prove to be insurmountable.
Woods has not been the closer of old in his return this year from a spinal fusion, most notably at the British Open at Carnoustie where he charged into the lead halfway through the final round before faltering.
The victory also has golf's highest-profile player on the verge of a top 10 ranking.
Having sat on the sidelines for 10 months previous year while recovering from spinal fusion surgery and facing the possibility of never playing golf again, former World No.1 Woods' ranking plummeted to 1,199 in November.