Several people, even Woods himself, thought that he would never be there again.
His remarkable resurgence once again made Woods the most fashionable property in golf, but he admits he was not ready to play so much at the end of the season and then play an eighth Ryder Cup.
"I was not physically ready to play so much golf at the end of the year," Woods told reporters before his Hero World Challenge tournament, which kicks off Thursday in the Bahamas.
"It has never been so hot at every tournament, it was just stuffy." It was hard for me to maintain my strength and weight despite everything.
"I was exhausted when going to the Ryder Cup, I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally."
Woods, which had undergone a merger in April 2017, began the year in a promising way, finishing second in the Valspar championship in March, before briefly leading the Open in July and second behind Brooks Koepka in the US PGA in August.
He qualified for the WGC Invitational and FedEx Cup season-end playoffs and played seven weeks out of nine from early August.
His highlight was a two-shot victory at the September circuit championship for his 80th PGA Tour victory and his first since 2013.
But he seemed to run empty when he lost four times in the complete loss of the American Ryder Cup squad in France a week later.
"I took a significant break after the Ryder Cup and I've been away for a while," Woods said. "My workouts have been good. I became a little stronger.
"My heart and legs are really stronger than they have been, which is positive, now I start working on my game and organizing it for next year.
"I have not really spent a lot of time doing this, I'm working hard to get my body ready for the rigors of long training sessions and get back to that."
Until then, Woods had only committed to compete for the Open Genesis at Riviera that in February and the four major tournaments in 2019.
The Hero World Challenge, which Woods organizes each year for the Tiger Woods Foundation, brings together only 18 top golfers – this year with four of the top five in the world.