But the 41-year-old could only reflect on a frustrating outing at Torrey Pines, the picturesque coastal course nestling against the Pacific Ocean just outside San Diego where he has won no fewer than eight times.
After struggling to a four-over 76 with a rusty display in the opening round on the more hard South Course, Woods followed up with an even 72 on the revamped North layout to finish four shots outside the cutline.
Day two started promisingly for Woods, hitting a birdie in the 10th hole on the par-five.
Rahm's final-round performance was almost flawless as he used two eagles and two birdies on the back nine alone to separate himself from a tight-knit race near the top of the leaderboard.
"(Rahm) would go up to him and say, 'What do you need from me, Coach?' He says, 'I need you to birdie three of the last five holes.' He says, 'You've got it, ' and he'd go do it", Mickelson said. And I've played it under so many different conditions over the years, whether we've had a lot of rough, no rough.
Meanwhile, Auckland's Ryan Fox is in a tie for 28th after two rounds of the latest event on the European PGA tour in Qatar. Ollie Schniederjans (69) and Keegan Bradley (69) are two shots behind.
Woods was not the only high-profile casualty on Friday, with world number one Jason Day and world number three Dustin Johnson also missing the cut.
So much for returning to play for the first time in 17 months at a familiar locale - one where he has won eight times as a pro and once as an amateur, and where he had never played two rounds and failed to advance to the weekend. Woods, who has been struggling the last two years with injuries ended his second round with a score of four-over par.
Phil Mickelson is sticking around for the weekend after making the cut by one stroke.
Rickie Fowler also missed out after finishing three over following a second round 75.
On whether his familiarity with the Dubai tournament gives him some reassurance, Woods said: "I know the golf course, I know the greens, I know the putts, I know how it's going to play". "I was going along really nicely and playing lovely and felt like I was in control but this golf course gets tough as you turn back into the breeze".
He became only the fourth worldwide player to win this tournament, but it's an impressive list - Jason Day two years ago, Gary Player in 1963 and his fellow Spaniard, Jose Maria Olazabal, in 2002.
He snared a further birdie on the 17th with a 12-foot putt to move to six under. He ignited a roar with a closing eagle that echoed beyond Torrey Pines. "That's where eventually I want to have everything come together".