By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Five years down the road, the memories of his last major championship win are still vivid.
The crippling pain in his leg that would force him to shut his season down prematurely, first and foremost. "I don't ever want to experience that again," Tiger Woods said Tuesday as he returned to Torrey Pines, the site of his 2008 U.S. Open victory.
"I really don't know how I quite got the five days and got through it."
And what about those miserable starts, which Woods sarcastically called "beautiful," a trio of double-bogeys and another bogey that put him behind the eight-ball each day?
At the same time, though, there was the way he methodically worked his way back into the mix. Not to mention, the 12-footer he made on the 72nd hole that landed Woods in the playoff with Rocco Mediate that the then-world No. 1 would go on to win.
"I think Saturday afternoon was a pretty cool little back nine stretch where I had a little bit of a run," Woods acknowledged, flashing that megawatt smile of his. "And the putt on 18 to get into it was certainly a putt I'll never, ever forget."
Woods has many other memories at Torrey Pines where he has won the Farmers Insurance Open six times. In his 12 starts there only once, in his last appearance in 2011, has Woods finished outside the top 10 -- and only twice has he finished lower than fifth.
Woods returns this week for just the second time since he won that U.S. Open. He played in Abu Dhabi last week and missed the cut after being penalized two strokes for taking an incorrect drop on the fifth hole in the second round.
As Woods practiced on the South Course Tuesday he wasn't walking down memory lane, though. He was trying to get a sense of how a course that is firmer and faster and drier than it's been in the past is playing.
"I was just trying to get a feel for the golf course," Woods said. "... What clubs I'm going to hit, what my lines are going to be, and getting a feel for if the Santa Ana's are going to blow this week or not blow off the ocean. So trying to get an understanding of how this golf course is playing at this time."
In hopes of adding yet another trophy to his collection.