“Woods's finish shows the killer instinct remains intact. It wasn't a perfect display over the last four days and might not have been enough to beat a full field - but this was still a significant victory. It suggests a fully fit Woods will be a major threat throughout the 2012 season, especially if he can discover the consistency of old on the greens.”
England's Paul Casey, who was last in the 18-man field after a seven-over-par first round, ended third on five under.
Casey, like Woods, hit five birdies in his closing three-under-par 69 to cap a remarkable turnaround in his weekend, while Scotland's Martin Laird finished in a tie for sixth on one under after a 70.
But it was Woods's spectacular finish that stole the headlines.
Asked to describe his feelings after ending his lengthy title drought, the 35-year-old replied: "It feels awesome, whatever that is.
"I've been in contention twice this year, which is not very often. I had the lead at the Masters on the back nine and had a chance at the Aussie Open, so that's my third time with a chance to win it. I pulled it off this time."
The 14-time major winner, who began the final round one behind overnight leader Johnson, was still one behind going down the 17th but sunk a 15-foot birdie putt to draw level.
Johnson then missed a birdie attempt on 18 before Woods drained a six-footer to clinch his first title since November 2009 and end a run of 26 tournaments without a victory.
"It was a lot of fun coming down the stretch," he added.
WORLD CHALLENGE WINNERS
2010 - Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland)
2009 - Jim Furyk (US)
2008 - Vijay Singh (Fiji)
2007 - Tiger Woods (US)
2006 - Tiger Woods (US)
2005 - Luke Donald (England)
2004 - Tiger Woods (US)
"Zach put a lot of pressure on me. He turned the tide [with birdie on 16], next thing I am one down playing the last couple of holes. Then I made two good putts."
Woods's three-under-par round at Sherwood Country Club meant he secured the 95th tournament win of his career and his first in the United States since the BMW Championship in September 2009.
Johnson, seeking his first victory since last year's Colonial Invitational, was left to curse his form on the greens after closing with a 71.
World number six Steve Stricker, the highest-ranked player at the tournament, who was second alongside Woods after a three-under-par opening round, closed with a two-over 74 to finish 16th on four over.
The World Challenge event was founded by Woods and his charitable foundation in 1999 as a fundraiser.
Woods, who has now won the tournament five times, lost in a play-off last year to Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell.
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