A birdie at the first following a flawless drive and a clipped wedge to five feet got the show on the road before further birdies at the par five third and par four fourth moved him into a tie for the lead at six under.
Spectators made a beeline as Woods teed off at 12:05 pm local time while fellow players kept asking for regular updates on the 41-year-old's progress.
Woods started the day off strong with a birdie on the first hole to move to four-under, two strokes back.
Woods is five back at seven under. Those are the internal struggles I haven't had for a while. "I've still got a long way to go", added Woods, who also missed the entire 2015-2016 season.
Fleetwood, Fowler and Johnson were the only three to produce bogey free rounds on windy conditions.
England's Tommy Fleetwood, fresh off winning the European Tour's Race to Dubai, leads the way after a 6-under 66. He found 15 of 18 greens and 10 of 13 fairways, a displayed that evoked praise from Woods. To come out here and score like I did, that was nice. "I have the chance now to play competitive golf again", Woods said afterwards when asked how satisfying his play had been. This round featured five birdies and even included a signature Tiger fist pump (early in the round when he saved par with a putt from just off the green at the par-4 fourth). "I played nine straight days at home before coming here and that's one of the reasons I did just that. They were a foot faster than yesterday, they were really dry and rolling out". Today he is paired with Henrik Stenson.