The American had previously not played competitively since August 2015 but finally teed it up at his own tournament in the Bahamas on Thursday.
Despite birdieing four of his first eight holes, the 14-time major winner faltered on the way home and eventually signed for a one-over 73.
Compatriot J.B. Holmes leads after day one in Albany following a brilliant opening 64 to leave him on eight-under, with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama a shot back following a 65.
All the attention in Albany was understandably on Woods, however, and speaking afterwards, he admitted he had seen plenty of signs of encouragement on his first outing following his injury layoff.
The 40-year-old said on Sky Sports: "If you think about it I hit the ball in three bushes and a water ball today, so it could have been something really good.
"I got off to a nice solid start but then made a few mistakes. I didn't play the par five well in the middle of the round.
"I had some awkward shots. If you drive great you can take advantage of this golf course, but if you don't you can end up in bushes or rocks and go sideways."
He added: "But all in all I feel good and I am looking forward to another three days."
Golf last week