- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DUBLIN, OHIO (AP) - Tiger Woods needed only two words to explain where the Memorial fits in on his road back from wherever he was to wherever he is going.

“I won,” he said.

When trying to chart his progress, golf becomes a lot like watching tennis.

He wins at Sherwood, and then can’t shake Robert Rock in Abu Dhabi. Phil Mickelson blows him away at Pebble Beach, and then Woods shoots a career-best final round of 62 to put a scare into Rory McIlroy. He withdraws from Doral with a sore Achilles tendon, and then wins by five at Bay Hill. He has the worst three-tournament stretch of his career, and then goes through a week at Muirfield Village where he hardly misses a shot.

He’s back. He’s finished. He’s back. And on it goes.

“I’m sure by Tuesday I’ll be retired and done,” Woods said Sunday. “And then by the time I tee it up at the U.S. Open, it might be something different.”

He was smiling at his own exaggeration, though there was a weariness to his tone that became even more pronounced when he concluded, “But I’ll let you guys figure it out.”

His remarkable rally at the Memorial makes the temptation greater than ever to proclaim that he has turned the corner and is picking up speed.

Woods said he hit just about every shot exactly how he wanted to, with the exception of his second shot on the 10th that he pulled slightly while trying to play a fade. It found a bunker and led to bogey. He missed only one fairway, and that was only by a few inches into the first cut of rough.

“I had it all today,” Woods said. “Whatever club I wanted to hit, I could hit. That was fun to have it when I needed it.”

Equally impressive was his score, which ultimately is what matters.

Not only did Woods overcome a four-shot deficit going into the final round, he was two shots behind with four holes to play as he posed in the fairway urging _ begging _ his 3-iron into the par-5 15th hole to carry beyond the false front of the green. It did, and he two-putted for birdie.

Woods figured if he could make one more birdie over the closing stretch, it might be enough for him to get into a playoff. Minutes later, he was praying for par when his 8-iron bounced over the green at the par-3 16th into a horrible spot. The ball was nestled in the rough, and the path 50 feet to the hole looked impossible. Too short, and it would turn down a slope and leave a difficult two-putt bogey. Too strong, and it would race past the cup and into the water.

With a full swing and a flop shot, the ball rode the crown of a ridge with just the right speed and dropped in for birdie not even he saw coming.

“It was one of the hardest ones I’ve pulled off,” Woods said when asked to rank it among his best shots, which is a long list. “That was a pretty sweet shot.”

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