"The more big-time players we have on Tour, the better it is for the game globally and he's obviously one of those".
"But I could see he'd done a lot of work physically and you could feel he was getting ready for something".
"He just won two tournaments with one round", the caddie said, and he was right. His most historic, of course, was at the 2008 U.S. Open.
That was Woods' most recent major triumph, with his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 derailed since then by a succession of injuries.
It's easy to be consumed by the good and great of what's presented to us on social media and dismiss the reality.
He also has gone more than four years without winning. "It brings a lot more attention to us, and a lot more people are watching, talking about it". While you might have better luck picking Powerball numbers than placing odds on Tiger's season, you can find some patterns at Torrey.
But Woods has called pro am events "hit and giggle" and applies considerably less concentration.
Shreveport's Sam Burns will make his first PGA Tour start of 2018 as the Farmers Insurance Open begins Thursday at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California. The last seven winners have started the tournament on the South Course. Two months younger than Woods, Johnson has played his entire career in Woods' considerable shadow but still managed to win 12 times, including two majors.
For all the success Woods has enjoyed at Torrey Pines, there have been a few lows, which have dominated his last couple of showings at the tournament: Injury forced the American to withdraw after only 12 holes back in 2015, and a year ago he missed the cut completely.
The following year, in 2011, Woods did return to the Farmers, but he could only muster a middling run, finishing T44.
After missing all of 2016, Woods hoped a return to Torrey would be the start of something good.
Of all Woods' victories, perhaps his greatest came here at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Back to the Farmers Insurance, this tournament is played over two courses. He's played into the weekend just once in that span.
Woods was sidelined for much of 2017 after he suffered a spinal injury.
The correlation obviously isn't direct, but the message is still clear.
He hardly needs a practice round at Torrey Pines to know his way around.
"So it all looks good, you know, for a good year from him, hopefully".
Woods himself said as much last month: "In an ideal world, I would like to have them feel what some of my past guys had to go against all those years". They're special players. I would love for the game to give us Tiger getting back to where he was so we could see what he would do against Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. But he has looked good at the Hero Challenge in the past and then, you know, he hasn't lasted too long'. He fired three rounds in the 60s, and finished tied for ninth in the 18-player invitational field.
Woods didn't even play on the South Course in 2015, withdrawing after 11 holes of his opening round on the North Course when his balky back tightened up during a fog delay. Well, it may be a sign of a long - or short - year to come.