But Woods displayed a sublime touch around the greens, seemingly laying to rest any suggestion that he has the chipping yips, and his ability to eke out a one-under-par 71 allowed him to make the cut, right on the number at one-under 143. "Tough conditions out there".
Within one stroke of the lead, J.B. Holmes "was trying to win" when he dwelled on club selection for his second shot from Torrey Pines South's 18th fairway for almost four minutes.
"Just that putt on 16, I wish I would have backed off and taken a little more time on that one", Holmes said. I'm struggling with my feels, hitting certain shots. When he tried to return after a 16-month break a year ago at Torrey Pines, he missed the cut.
Despite the incident, Woods got back on track at the tournament in California, his first full competition for two-years, and his return to action following back surgery last April which has sidelined the veteran for nearly 10 months.
Most importantly, there was no sign of any back trouble as he looks ahead to his next scheduled start at Riviera in Los Angeles February 15-18.
Woods is playing the PGA Tour for only the second time since August 2015.
"After not playing for a couple of years and coming out here on tour, you know, it was a solid four days", the 14-time Major champion said.
"These weren't yawners - down the middle, on the green, miss the first one, one-hand the second". It showed that I had heart. These were grinds. I fought hard.
Mason is not at the tournament, remaining home to play in a hockey game, his father said.
"I grinded my way around the golf course today", Woods said.
Unfortunately, Woods' driver let him down more often than not, like on the par-4 seventh when his errant tee shot traveled rightward, some 30 yards from the center of the fairway.
"It was fun to compete again".
A birdie chance at 13 went begging when an over-eager fan yelled out as Woods stroked his 10-footer. A long lag from around 80 feet left Woods a simple tap-in birdie, and it was off to the weekend.
Two bogeys on the back nine also saw Palmer drop out of contention before a superb birdie at the last hole saw him sneak into the play-off.
Day hit his opening drive on the sixth extra hole into the rough, while Noren found the first cut on the left, but the Swede's fairway wood landed into the face of a slope and dribbled back into the water.