Once a permanent presence at the top of the game's rankings, the 37-year-old had not looked down on the rest since October 2010, with a myriad of reasons veering him off course.
But victory in the rain-delayed fourth round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday - his eighth win there - pushed him above Rory McIlroy and back into the number one spot.
The next week will be his 624th as the top dog and he says there is no secret as to why he is back at the summit.
"It's a by-product of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments," he said.
Woods won the event by two shots from Justin Rose - the Englishman is up to a career-best third - and will now head to the Masters looking to end a five-year major drought.
He remains on 14 but is not entertaining the critics who say he has to make it 15 before he can be considered 'back'.
"It's up to them. It's their opinion, I'm very pleased with the way I'm playing," he added.
"It's been a few years since I've felt this good.
"I've turned some of the weaknesses that I had last year into strengths. I'm really excited about the rest of this year.
"The very beginning of the year I was excited because of how the end of last year turned. My short game came around, I thought my swing was getting better my short irons got better, lo and behold, I won a few tournaments this year."
During his well-reported slump, Woods dropped as low as number 58 in the world, but this was his third success of the year and his sixth dating back to another victory at Bay Hill a year ago.
As his nearest challenger come the end, Rose was well placed to comment on how well he was playing.
"He plays every shot like he plays them on Sunday," Rose said.
"His intensity is the same on Thursday often as it is on Sunday, and that makes Sunday a lot less different for him.
"He plays in that kind of atmosphere far more regularly than a lot of guys do, and it's an adjustment for most of us. It's a known for him."