On Sunday, he outlasted two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal and Australian rookie Nathan Green to win the Buick Invitational.
'This week, it was one of those weeks where either I hit it great or I didn't hit it at all and then I made everything for a little stretch or I made nothing,' admitted Woods.
Woods drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole of regulation to shoot an even-par 72. He joined Olazabal (69) and Green (72) at 10-under-par 278.
Lucas Glover had a 63-foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole that would have put him in the playoff. The ball came up two revolutions short and settled for a 1-under 71.
Glover tied for fourth place with Jonathan Kaye (66), John Rollins (69) and Arjun Atwal (71) at 9-under-par 279.
Phil Mickelson, a three-time champion, had a share of the lead, but three consecutive bogeys from the 14th dropped him from the top of the perch. He managed a final-round, 1-over 73 and tied for eighth place with one of the third-round co-leaders, Sergio Garcia, who struggled to a 3-over 75. The pair came in at minus-8.
Olazabal was the first to post 10-under par as he two-putted for birdie from 36 feet. Green was next although his ride to the playoff wasn't as smooth as the Spaniard's. Green had 60 feet for eagle, but rammed his putt 7 feet by the hole. The Australian, in only his second PGA Tour event, calmly stroked home the birdie to get to minus-10.
Woods, who notched four birdies and four bogeys in Sunday's final round, had a tricky lie and since he did not bring his 2-iron, pulled a 5-wood. He left himself with a 73-foot eagle putt and the 30-year-old badly misread the putt. Woods powered his eagle putt 10 feet past the cup, but, as he has so often, he converted the birdie try.
The playoff was set with the three participants and they headed back to No. 18 at the South Course at Torrey Pines, which will play host to the 2008 U.S. Open.
Green went first and found the fairway. Neither Woods, nor Olazabal landed in the short grass, so both laid up down the fairway. Green badly pulled his second in the grandstand left of the green.
Olazabal, who won this title in 2002, hit what appeared to be a good shot, but the ball spun back to the front fringe. Woods' third spun back to 10 feet, but Green would not share such fortune.
He took his free drop, then hit a terrible pitch that came up short of the green. He stubbed his fourth a few feet before finally reaching the putting surface with his fifth shot. Green missed his par putt and was essentially knocked out of sudden death.
Olazabal chipped his from the slight rough to a foot and tapped in for par. Woods had a decent opportunity to wrap up the victory, but pulled his birdie try. It was off to the par-3 16th, but without Green.
At the long par-3, Olazabal found the bunker right of the stick, leaving himself with little green to work with. Woods played his 3-iron 45 feet from the hole. Olazabal hit a spectacular bunker shot to 4 feet, while Woods rolled his long putt to tap-in range.
Olazabal, one of the best putters in the last 20 years, lipped out his par putt, giving Woods the title.
'It was a very tricky putt down the hill, very fast, and right to left break,' said Olazabal. 'You know, I had to make it, so I decided that I was going to put less break on it and just hit it a little firmer, but I didn't hit it firm enough.'
'I feel bad. I want to win it with a birdie,' said Woods, who pocketed $918,000 for the win. 'I had a chance to make birdie on 18 on the first playoff hole to win it right there, just hit a bad putt. You don't ever want to see anyone miss a short one like that.'
Rod Pampling, who shared the third-round lead with Garcia, struggled on Sunday. He only managed a 4-over 76 and tied for 10th place with Henrik Bjornstad