Woods remained 11 under going into the final day, two clear of Zach Johnson, and with Bubba Watson at seven under the only other player within six shots of him it appeared to be a three-horse race at most.
Further down the field there were welcome positive signs for Rory McIlroy, the former world number one, who has struggled throughout the week but carded a best-of-the-day four-under-par 68 to move into a share of 11th.
Johnson briefly took the lead at the Sherwood Country Club - where Woods plays host - when he was two under through nine and the overnight leader was one over.
But Woods birdied the 10th and Johnson fell apart somewhat, throwing in a bogey and two doubles between the 11th and the 15th.
Woods struggled too, dropping shots at 13 and 15, but when both men birdied 16 and 18, it meant the day ended as it began.
Matt Kuchar started the day third on eight under and birdies on the first two holes put him well in the mix.
But he threw in three bogeys before the turn, then dropped three further shots on the way home to slide out of contention at four under overall.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell slipped from five under to two under, but fellow Northern Irishman McIlroy had a better day.
He holed six birdies, with the only blemish a double bogey at the 15th.