NASSAU, Bahamas — Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods each had cause for celebrations large and small Sunday in the Hero World Challenge.
Fowler rallied from a seven-shot deficit by starting his final round with seven straight birdies at Albany Golf Club and closing with an 11-under-par 61 for a four-shot victory over Charley Hoffman. It was the second victory of the year for Fowler.
‘‘Finally just kind of got everything to piece together,’’ said Fowler, who moved to No. 7 in the world.
In a week that began with so much curiosity over how Woods would perform, he had his best result in four years.
More than his score, he looked just as strong at end, including a vicious recoil on a 2-iron he hit from 265 yards on the third hole that ran through the green.
Playing for the first time in 10 months while recovering from fusion surgery on his lower back — his fourth back surgery in three years — Woods shot another 31 on the front nine, closed with back-to-back bogeys and shot a 68.
He tied for ninth in the 18-man field, his best result since a playoff loss at this holiday event in 2013.
‘‘I’m excited,’’ Woods said. ‘‘This is the way I’ve been playing at home.’’
He still finished 10 shots behind Fowler. Then again, Fowler didn’t give anyone much of a chance.
‘‘I knew I needed to get off to a quick start to at least show Charley I was there,’’ said Fowler, who finished at 14-under 274.
A year ago, Woods returned from a 15-month hiatus from back surgeries and showed flashes of his old self, particularly when he shot 65 in the second round and ended the week with 24 birdies. Woods said nothing about his health that week, though his back couldn’t withstand the rough at Torrey Pines and the 16-hour flight to Dubai. He withdrew after one round at Dubai with back spasm and had the fusion surgery in April.
This return was different from how far he hit the ball with plenty of speed in his swing (his ball speed approached 180 miles per hour), and he made more putts from the 8- to 15-foot range than he has in recent years.
‘‘He’s obviously a lot more upbeat, a lot more positive, a lot healthier than he was last year at this time,’’ said Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour player of the year who was paired with him in the first and final rounds. ‘‘He’s got a lot of energy. It’s just so weird to say that you’re excited for somebody else’s year, but it will be a fun year.”
Woods appears to be back, at least to playing.
He has not said where he will start in 2018, though he made it clear he plans on not being a stranger. The best bet is the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times and considers a hometown event.
‘‘I don’t know what my schedule is going to be, but my expectations are we’ll be playing next year,’’ he said. ‘‘How many? Where? I don’t know yet, but we’ll figure it out.’’