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USATSI

Tiger Woods ended his 2020 Memorial Tournament with a 76, which sounds terrible until you compare it to what the rest of the field is doing. Woods' 76 was exactly the field average at the time he finished on a Muirfield Village course that was playing 4 over in major championship-like conditions.

It was a week of ups and downs for Woods, who was playing his first event since the end of February, but the most important part for him was that he made the cut and played the weekend three weeks before the first (and only) major of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season -- the PGA Championship -- starts at Harding Park.

Tiger again hit it pretty well on Sunday, which wasn't an issue for most of the week other than one horrific nine-hole stretch on Friday that nearly pushed him outside the cut line. What clearly needs some work is his short game. He finished outside the top 50 in both strokes gained around the greens and with the putter. 

Big Cat said essentially the same thing himself after his round.

"I got four rounds in and I was fortunate enough to make the weekend," Woods told CBS Sports after his round. "I made some progress ball-striking wise. I got to clean it up on the greens. I didn't putt well all week. It's progress. I hadn't played in a while. It was nice to get my feet wet."

Woods' swing looked really good for a lot of the week, like I imagined it would after a long layoff. His body seemed to act up for a bit on Friday, but that was the lone blip on what was an otherwise fairly clean week from a health standpoint.

The enthralling part to watch was Woods trying to hold irons and wedges against the wind and mega-firm greens at Muirfield. Maybe nobody in history has ever been better at controlling the golf ball than Woods, and that was on display for most of the week, which is the thing you're watching for if you're trying to figure out what the future holds for Woods.

It's not a week in which he would have gotten his 83rd PGA Tour victory, anyway, as Jon Rahm is doing laps around the field as Woods walks to the clubhouse. Even if Woods would have had an all-time putting week, winning would have been a big ask against Rahm. But that was never the point. The point is that Woods got four competitive rounds in ahead of this seven-majors-in-12-months stretch we're about to embark on.

Though Woods finished 6 over on the week and well outside the top 25, it's been a successful checkpoint for Tiger ahead of this wild major stretch and a nice reentry for Big Cat back into the professional world after nearly half a year's worth of absence.