A year ago, Tiger Woods was months removed from a DUI charge and unsure whether he'd ever play competitive golf again. Back injuries and four surgeries had left him unable to get off the couch at times, and many had accepted that the most dominant golfer of all time would end his career in underwhelming fashion.
Instead, Woods took sports fans on a journey through the PGA Tour season that not even he could have predicted.
As expected, Woods was a little rusty in his return to the PGA Tour. He kicked off 2018 at Torrey Pines, the venue for his iconic 2008 U.S. Open win, and battled his way to a T-23 finish, but never threatened the leaders and didn't break 70. In his next appearance at Riviera Country Club, he was wild off the tee and missed the cut by four shots. He'd miss one more cut all season.
The Florida swing has historically treated Tiger well, and 2018 was no different. He got his feet wet in the Sunshine State with a 12th-place showing at the Honda Classic, the first time he'd been in the mix on a Sunday in years, and said afterward: "My expectations have gone up."
At the next week's Valspar Championship, the "Tiger's back" discussions officially began. He was the solo leader at one point during Round 2, giving the golf world all the feelings it was accustomed to during his heyday. The 42-year-old eventually finished as the runner-up to Paul Casey after a disappointing final-round 70, but being in contention again Sunday was another important step in the comeback process.
Woods capped off a successful lap around Florida with a T-5 showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in mid-March.
In what Woods described as a "miracle," he made his first appearance at the Masters since 2015 as the favorite to win his fifth green jacket. However, his highly anticipated return to Augusta left much to be desired, as he struggled early. He still managed to sneak inside the cut, and cleaned up his game on the weekend to finish T-32 in the year's first major.
Early in the summer, Tiger's wonky putter was a huge story. Woods bookended a T-11 result at The Players with two dreadful putting performances as he prepared for the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open after shooting 78 in his opening round, forcing him to move away from his famed Scotty Cameron putter.
The mallet-putter era began with a T-4 finish at the Quicken Loans National.
This is when things started to get really fun.
Woods made his triumphant return to the Open Championship in what some pegged as his best chance at a win this season. Carnoustie played right into his style, allowing him to hit irons off the tee and take advantage of his elite ball-striking. The three-time Claret Jug winner was even par through two days but kicked it into another gear on moving day, shooting a 5-under 66.
He started his final round on the course perfectly, making birdies as the rest of the leaders started to crumble. On the 10th hole, Woods was the solo leader.
He was in contention on Sunday at a major, and Twitter went bananas. Check out the worldwide Twitter activity during his final-round run.
Unfortunately, he could not recover from a 3-over start to his back nine and had to settle for a T-6 finish. Despite the disappointment, Woods made it known he was back and ready to contend in the game's biggest events - and, most importantly, finally showed his kids what he can do.
His final-round highlights from Carnoustie contain vintage club twirls, fist pumps, and wicked recoils, indicating the Tiger of old was ready to break out.
If you thought Carnoustie was a wild ride, buckle up for Bellerive Country Club.
Woods got off to a typically slow start at the PGA Championship but made serious noise during the rain-delayed second and third rounds. Heading into the final round four shots behind the leaders and coming off back-to-back 66s, it was time for Woods to captivate the sports world once again.
After making a fierce entrance to the course grounds, Woods birdied two of his first three while Brooks Koepka was letting his lead slip away. The four-time PGA Championship winner was dialed in early, generating roars like this one.
However, Woods came up short Sunday. A single back-nine bogey derailed his comeback bid, leading to a solo-second finish, two shots behind Koepka.
Do yourself a favor and watch all of the best moments from Tiger's Sunday at Bellerive.
Tiger qualified for the FedEx Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013, with his eyes on reaching the Tour Championship. After opening the postseason with two mediocre results, he made his mark as the first-round leader at the BMW Championship. But the timing wasn't perfect enough for Woods, who seemingly knows how to make the most out of every big moment.
The Tour Championship, though - this was it.
After knocking on the door multiple times throughout his comeback season, Woods took on the 30-man field at East Lake in his last chance at recording a win during his remarkable year. He opened with a 5-under 65 to share the 18-hole lead and never gave it up, pulling away from the field with five straight birdies on the back nine during Round 3. The stage was set for Woods to make history.
He was in total control during Sunday's final round after playing mistake-free for most of the day. With a two-shot cushion standing on the tee of the final hole, Woods created a scene on the 18th that can only be described as chaotic. After knocking his approach on the green, fans stormed the fairway, engulfing the star in a sea of supporters.
Dominating from start to finish, Woods put on an absolute clinic en route to a two-shot victory for PGA Tour win No. 80 that seemed inevitable from the start.
Woods' Tour Championship victory was the cherry on top of a resurgent season. He's removed all doubt as to whether he can contend and win again on the PGA Tour. He held two leads in majors and beat the toughest field to qualify for on the schedule.
The young talents who idolized Woods are growing up, and their hero is back and looking to chase down Jack Nicklaus' record for major wins. 2018-19 has all the makings of the most intriguing PGA Tour season in decades.