But Woods got up and down from the side of the green to save par on 17 and scrambled another par on the final hole for a two-shot win over fellow American Billy Horschel.
He came into the final day of the tournament - the last of four FedEx Cup play-off events - with a three-shot lead over Rose and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who faded from contention with a four-over 74 to finish on five under in tied seventh.
England's world number one Justin Rose finished tied fourth to secure the overall FedEx Cup which determines the season-long PGA Tour champion.
The end result was Woods' first win since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013.
So far, it's been a great day for Woods.
The Tour Championship may have been over before the final round even started as Woods strutted onto the premises wearing a backwards hat and sleeveless shirt with his biceps popping, It felt inevitable at that point, with Woods having been a ideal 23 for 23 closing out PGA Tour events that he led by 3+ strokes through 54 holes, that he would touch off what had already been an wonderful season for him to this point.
The win for Woods, who is part of the United States team for next week's Ryder Cup in France, means he is now two short of Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour title record of 82.
Woods played true to history in claiming this win. He left the competition feeling hopeless as he built a five-shot lead early and hung on to win the Tour Championship.
You aren't going to want to miss Woods' final round at East Lake on Sunday. "I loved every bit of it".
It would be his 80th title on the PGA Tour and hold a special place as his first trophy after four back surgeries.