That was the guy who won 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour events in the first 18 years of his career.
Woods has played one tournament since his surgery, the unofficial Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December, where he finished ninth of 18 players in a good test run for 2018, when he hopes to play a full schedule for the first time since 2013.
Woods's fourth straight win in the tournament immediately stamped him the favorite for the US Open to be held on the Torrey Pines South course four months later. "It's the first event of the year, so I've just got to knock the rust off during these last few (practice) days, get into the tournament and try execute good shots", said Day, who won the 2015 event at Torrey Pines. "I just want to start playing and getting into a rhythm of playing a schedule again".
As for his expectations, he admitted he'll be stepping into the unknown on the long and punishing North Course at Torrey Pines today.
"I've played with Tiger when he was playing the best he's ever played, and it was a real treat to see it - although it wasn't a treat to be humiliated by his dominance".
"But I could see he'd done a lot of work physically and you could feel he was getting ready for something".
"No one's had a spinal fusion at this level and be able to hit the ball as hard as I do".
This time past year Woods had come through the Hero event unscathed after 15 months out following multiple back surgeries but missed the cut at Torrey Pines.
"It's been so bad for so long, but turning it around and having my back fused, I haven't felt this good in years, so I'm excited about it", he said.
Davis says he's still feeding off the confidence from his breakthrough win at the Australian Open, when he closed with a seven-under-par 64 to beat PGA Tour winners Jonas Blixt and Matt Jones by a shot at The Australian Golf Club. He never made it back out on the stateside Tour again, got his back fused in April, and called it a season.
Before you make any bets or enter a daily fantasy golf tournament on DraftKings or FanDuel, you'll want to hear what the team at SportsLine has to say. It's must-watch whether you think he's back and going to win all four majors this year. You will not see him in my playbook because I'm not interested in owning him at that price tag on DraftKings.
At the Hero World Challenge, Woods did look better than many expected.
"It puts a little bit more on me", Rahm said of the increased expectations he'll carry after his victory in the California desert.
Woods, who has won eight times at the Torrey Pines venue he will take on this week, is confident.
Woods tees off at 1:40 p.m. ET with Charley Hoffman and Patrick Reed on a course where he has had some of his greatest success in the game, including his 2008 U.S. Open victory in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.
Brandel Chamblee, now a forthright Golf Channel analyst, said that Woods appears to have solved his body and swing issues, but "chipping yips" and age make it almost impossible to imagine him recapturing his old magic. I know this is early in the year, but they're seasoned already and I'm not.
"Truth be told, I'd love to have these young guys that are dominating the game have a piece - just one year - of what we experienced".