Woods was tied with Dustin Johnson, another major champion and world No. 1, along with Xander Schauffele and Masters newcomer Justin Harding of South Africa.
The 43-year-old will be desperate to claim his fifth Masters title after last taking the green jacket home back in 2005. All these questions will be answered in the coming days.
On moving day at Augusta National, Patrick Cantlay made a monster leap, turning in an error-free eight-under 64 to jump from two-over at the start of the day to six-under with his name popping up on the leaderboard.
But it almost all came undone on the 14th after he found himself deep in the pine trees following a wild drive off the tee. When he mounted the 18th tee here 28 years ago, he picked out his Persimmon driver and smashed his tee-shot clean over the left-hand bunker.
The horn sounded to clear spectators from the course with major winners Francesco Molinari, Jason Day and Brooks Koepka all sharing the clubhouse lead at seven-under.
The guard clipped Woods' foot and ankle, leaving Woods hopping away in pain before making his way to the green - where he pulled off a long putt to ice a truly remarkable birdie.
Molinari holed a couple of clutch putts in his five opening pars before picking up shots at the sixth and eighth as he cruised to the turn in 34, and he came close to a rare ace at the 12th to set up the birdie that ignited his charge to the top of the leaderboard.
"I feel like I played my own way back into the tournament", said Woods, who is seeking his first major victory since 2008.
He poured in his birdie putt to jump to 5-under for the tournament. "This is now three straight majors that I've been in the mix and so it's good stuff".
"We have been dealing with mud balls pretty much all week, so I'm going to pray for clean golf balls in the fairway and we'll go at it from there", said Fowler, 7 under after a 68 on Saturday.
He shot rounds of 75 and 73.
With the forecast calling for heavy rain and thunderstorms late on Sunday officials have made a decision to send golfers off in threesomes from both the first and 10th tees rather than traditional pairs in an attempt to get the final round completed and avoid a Monday finish to the year's first major.
As for Rory McIlroy, the career Grand Slam might need to wait another year. He was only seven shots behind, but he had 35 players in front of him.