He hadnt played in a golf tournament in two and a half months. And he hadnt started practicing until 10 days before the event.
Then he went out and blew the doors off a world class field by seven shots.
The only immediate question remaining, as Christmas and Tigers 32nd birthday rapidly approach, is did this latest Woods tour de force tell us anything we didnt already know.
It suggests, at least, that perhaps we havent seen Woods best golf yet. And because of that, it adds an instant buzz to the impending 2008 season.
It reminds us that all Woods needs is a sliver of a reason to believe that other people believe he is not the favorite any time he shows up to play. In this case, it was the layoff and the sniffles.
We need to try to figure out how to put more pressure on him, said Jim Furyk, who was not talking about Tigers sinuses.
By the way, in case your counting, (and I wouldnt be surprised if Woods was), Rory Sabbatini trailed Woods by 28 shots after 54 holes. Then Sabbatini withdrew for personal reasons.
This is the same Sabbatini who, earlier this year, proclaimed Tiger to be more beatable than ever.
Beatable Schmeatable. Through the first three days of the Target World Challenge, Woods could have given Sabbatini a stroke on every other hole and still come out on top by one.
Tiger had bigger fish to fry in an event that used to host the old Shark Shootout. And fry them he did.
Sherwood Country Club has five par 5s which, when Woods is playing well, effectively turns the golf course from a par 72 to a par 67. Woods mindset, before he tees off, is to get all the par 5s and pick up as many birdies as he can on the other 13 holes.
In his Friday course record 62 Woods made eight birdies, an eagle and 127 feet of putts. Hell of a host, said first-round leader Furyk who shot a second round 67 and lost five shots to Woods.
Sabbatini wobbled home with a Friday 81. Which, yes, means Woods could have spotted Sabbatini one shot on every hole and still beaten him by one at the end of the day. The late word on Sabbatini was that he was complaining of 'shin splints.' But several members of the field criticized his late withdrawal.
Alas, poor Tiger. He said he warmed up poorly before Saturdays round. Then be birdied the first two holes. I had a hard time trusting it (Saturday), I really did, he said after a 67 left him six shots clear of Furyk.
So how, he was asked, did he manage birdies on the first two holes?
Smoke and mirrors, he said. I felt pretty good the way I was hitting it coming into the week. I just needed to refine it.
There were short moments of doubt Sunday. Furyk closed temporarily and Woods called his final round 68 scrappy. But, in the end, the margin of victory over runner-up Zach Johnson was still seven.
Makes you want to rub your hands together and salivate over what Woods, now a father and a man in full, might produce in 2008.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt