His problems began when he three-putted the 18th for a bogey six, then double-bogeyed the first after bunker trouble and followed that mistake with bogeys at the second, third and fourth before missing a four-footer for birdie at the last.
He was steady, and at times spectacular.
Lee mixed three birdies with two early bogeys to card a second-round 71. A long lag from around 80 feet left Woods a simple tap-in birdie, and it was off to the weekend.
Among Woods' biggest challenges will be the two courses he has to face - the North and South tracks are long, rimmed with tough, thick rough and feature greens that already are on the firm side.
It was a taste of things to come, and Woods had to settle for par after that.
"I'm still getting used to my feels, but that just takes more time under the fire", he said.
Today Tiger Woods is world 647, but not for long.
Woods pulled a shot back with a textbook birdie at the par-five sixth, firing his tee shot 308 yards down the middle of the fairway. He'll have work to do on Friday on the North Course, typically the more forgiving of the two in use over the first two rounds of the tournament.
He clawed his way back from two over par to one under with four late birdies, although there was nearly a wicked sting in the tail.
A poor chip on his 17th left Woods on a knife-edge but the birdie saw him card a 71 to leave him on one-under overall.
This will be only his second PGA Tour event since August 2015.
American Ryan Palmer is the lone leader going into the third round.
"Just unfortunate it happened, but I made a good putt, had a couple really good putts down the stretch and had a good finish", Rahm said. "I think it's just a credit to my start". The par fives are very reachable for me hitting some irons in there. He missed the green to the left and chipped through the green before two-putting.
"A lot of distractions behind me", he said.
"And also, on top of that, what are my new feels going to be".
"Now that I've made the cut, hopefully I will be able to compete and keep building".
It's been almost five years, in fact, since Woods played for anything more important than a press with his buddies in South Florida; so it shouldn't exactly prompt a double-take that after so much time outside of the competitive fray, it's going to take a few rounds to rediscover that edge that made him the undisputed best of his generation.