Tennis giant Serena Williams led the tributes, saying she was "literally in tears" watching his comeback performance.
National Basketball Association stars LeBron James and Steph Curry also expressed their admiration, although Curry hoped for a little more from Woods as a result of him claiming a fifth green jacket.
Just off the 18 green, Woods hugged his mother as he had his late father Earl in 1997 and held his children, his back more than up to the task as the crowd chanted his name, a rare tribute, and rivals congratulated him as he entered the clubhouse.
Cup playoffs as unpredictable as the weather: Marchand
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask outduelled Leafs counterpart Frederik Andersen last spring, but both come in off up-and-down seasons. They came back down to earth just in time for the playoffs to take on a rematch of last season's first round.
In a final round that was played in threesomes off both tees to stay ahead of approaching thunderstorms, Woods grabbed the outright lead for the first time with a two-putt birdie at No. 15.
"I don't know if there are words - I'm sure he's ecstatic about it", Koepka said.
"To have my kids there - it's come full circle".
Written off as too old and too beaten up from four back surgeries and multiple knee operations, Woods underwent a back fusion in 2017 and slowly returned to form.
Israeli PM and main rival both claiming victory in general elections
But "King Bibi", as some have called him, now faces the prospect of becoming the first sitting prime minister to be indicted. Final results were expected on April 11, with ballots for soldiers and other special categories of voters yet to be counted.
All those moments built to Sunday, when Woods was once again his old familiar dominating self.
Paired together in the final round of last year's The Open Championship, won by the Italian at Carnoustie, Molinari and Woods found themselves in the last group again battling for a major title.
They will tee off at 9:20 am ET (1320 GMT) as officials pushed up start times in a desperate bid to get the season's first major across the finish line before storms hit.
Woods, meanwhile, shook off any lingering effects of back-to-back bogeys with a tap in birdie to slice Molinari's advantage to a single stroke.
Samsung announces Galaxy A80 with a rotating camera setup
But I have changed my strategy from this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end'. The new Galaxy M30 has a similar design language as the Galaxy M10 and Galaxy M20 phones except for the display panels.