Woods admitted earlier in the week the latest back operation he underwent in April 2017 had left him wondering whether he had played his last British Open, a tournament he won in 2000, 2005 and 2006. What is most impressive is how he did it, though his winning score of 8-under par does not do the effort justice.
HISTORY: Molinari becomes the first Italian to win a major.
The 35-year-old's first birdie of the day finally arrived at the par-five 14th and a pinpoint approach at the final hole set up another birdie opportunity from six feet that he needed no second invitation to take. The longtime PGA Tour slogan is, "These guys are good", and so is Woods.
Woods has won eight times on Firestone's South Course, accounting for nearly one tenth of all his PGA Tour wins, with his most recent victory in 2013, but he has not played in any WGC events since 2014.
"Francesco Molinari, who has won on both sides of the Atlantic", Nobilo proclaimed before the start of the tournament on The Golf Channel.
Considering Molinari sat at even par through the first two rounds, though, few could have seen this coming. Rocca was paired in the final round with Woods two years later at the 1997 Masters, but that wasn't much of a contest.
One of the other contenders was 14-time major victor Tiger Woods, who was back vying for one of golf's biggest prizes again before finishing three shots behind Molinari. Again, at this point, Molinari was at even par after opening with a 70-72 effort. As a four time major victor, Spieth is well aware of the hard work that goes into making a major champion.
Spieth gambled with a shot to clear the burn on No. 6 and went into a gorse bush, making double bogey.
Woods then signed a golf glove for his fan, who had flown over to Britain to watch him play.
All of it was just a warm-up for Sunday's final act, however, and Molinari went home with the Claret Jug by playing the best round of the day at Carnoustie.
However, it proved to be a false dawn as three dropped shots in two holes saw him fall behind and in the end the 14-time major victor was being consoled by his two children.
Not since 1958 had the four-time champions failed to qualify for football's greatest showpiece, prompting the president of the country's football association to compare the outcome to "an apocalypse".
The final round of the British Open posted an overnight rating of 5.0.
He will attempt to become the first three-peat victor in the event's history, although others in the field might have some say.
"He does things that maybe he didn't do 10, 15 years ago, but it's still great to have him back". Kisner will try to make up for his fourth-round struggles in Carnoustie by playing in the RBC Canadian Open, and the world's top-ranked golfer, Dustin Johnson, is in the field, too, after missing the cut last week.
McIlroy and former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose made a charge. All these stars will be playing on a course known for being the first the legendary Jack Nicklaus designed all by himself.
Woods's ball was momentarily lost in the grey haze of the Scottish skies, before fans suddenly realised it had been mishit and was flying very much in their direction.
This wasn't on the golf course.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local.