Tiger Woods, the former face of golf, is in unfamiliar territory after finishing dead last in the Memorial Tournament last weekend with a career-worst tally of a 14-over-par 302. The recent performance dropped Woods to No. 181 in the latest world rankings -- his lowest spot since 1996, when he was a neophyte.

Nevertheless, the American golfer said he feels confident that he can bounce back and stage a rally at the U.S. Open near Tacoma, Washington, beginning June 15. "I showed signs of what we're working on was starting to come together, and that's pretty exciting to finally hit those shots," Woods recently told reporters while promoting the Quicken Loans National tournament, to be held in Gainesville, Virginia, July 30 to Aug. 2. "Shots that I didn't think I could hit. Earlier in the week I couldn't hit those shots."

Woods, 39, added that even with the terrible recent showing, he believes that putting in extra work since the Player’s Championship last month is an investment in his eventual turnaround. His free fall was so abrupt that the year 2008 marks the time when Woods last won a major and headlined the prestigious sport.

But if his performance in recent months is any indication, there is no significant trend developing. Woods had his best performance during the Master’s last year, where he finished tied for 17th place. He missed the cut at the Phoenix Management Open by tallying just 82 last Friday and also withdrew from a recent tournament due to an assortment of ailments. 

Still, he maintained that recent setbacks will only help him recapture the form that made him the possible heir to Jack Nicklaus' record for major tournment wins. But Woods acknowledged that everything has to be taken one step at a time.

Below: Watch the highlights of Woods' dismal performance in the third round of the Memorial Tournament:

(Youtube/PGA Tour)