(CBS News) - Injury and controversy put Tiger Woods' golfing career in a tailspin.
But on Sunday, he won his first PGA tour event in two-and-a-half years.
Woods called the win "pure joy," and it was a long time coming: 923 days - 26 tour events in all.
Woods didn't just win. He looked like the Woods of old, entering the final round with a lead and cruising to an easy victory.
The five-stroke win was Woods' seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational - a record. But more importantly, it was his first PGA tour title since the scandal that changed his life, and the world of golf.
"I know I have desire to win," Woods told reporters afterwards. "And that's why I enter these events, is to do that, and ultimately, this week was one of my weeks."
It also came only two weeks after another injury scare - this time, his Achilles tendon - and only two days before the release of a new tell-all book by Woods' former swing coach, Hank Haney, who makes less than flattering remarks about his former student.
"The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods" by Hank Haney (Crown Archetype)
"I have no doubt that it was meant to cause a great stir in Tiger Woods' camp," says Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee. "Tiger Woods' winning, he knows, will quiet all of the dissent and most of the questions that are going to be asked with this book coming out."
The runaway win sets Woods up for the most famed event of the golf year, The Masters, in Augusta, Ga.
He now figures to be the favorite. And if he wins, it would put him back on track toward his lifelong goal: breaking Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles. Woods has 14, where he's been stuck since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
"Technically speaking," says Chamblee, "Tiger Woods is back. From a wins standpoint, Tiger Woods is back. He says he was never anywhere, but he was gone, and he's back now."
Woods lost six major sponsors and hundreds of millions in endorsement dollars and prize money in the wake of his scandal. But it's big wins like this that could bring those big dollars back.