"When I was struggling with my back, the world seemed very small". He also had a double bogey in the elite 18-man event that featured eight of the world's top 10. I hit some really good shots out there.
"I'm excited", Woods said afterward. "Now I am able to sit back and enjoy it a little bit more".
The 14-time major champion will turn 42 on December 30 and his likely schedule is yet to be confirmed, however, there were enough positives from the four rounds to suggest Woods can be a regular contender again. Two more bogeys on the sixth and seventh put him four over for the day as his challenge threatened to unravel, and a further bogey on the 10th further deepened the gloom.
A further birdie putt on the 18th rolled agonisingly wide and Woods said he didn't think he had major adjustments to make to improve in the final round.
Fowler rattled off seven straight birdies to open his final round, including a hole out from the sand on no. 5, and took the outright lead from Charley Hoffman, who made bogeys on the 4th and 5th.
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"You've got to keep fighting, and that's one of things I've always done in my entire career is just keep fighting and try to post the best number I possibly could", Woods added.
England's Tommy Fleetwood (67) and Jordan Spieth (69) tied for third at 12-under 276.
"I don't know what golf courses I will be playing, what's the best way to go about it.We'll figure it out".
The 41-year-old, who last played at the Dubai Desert Classic in February, carded a four-under final round of 68 but was powerless to prevent fellow countryman Rickie Fowler from claiming a four-shot win after a stunning 61.