As usual, Memorial Tournament officials anxiously have been awaiting word from Tiger Woods as to whether he'll play this year at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin.

As usual, Memorial Tournament officials anxiously have been awaiting word from Tiger Woods as to whether he'll play this year at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin.

The Memorial's entry deadline is Friday, but Woods rarely commits to any PGA Tour event except the four major championships much earlier that that.

He did not play in the Memorial last year, and his victory on one good leg at the U.S. Open two weeks later was the only start he made after The Masters.

"The perfect scenario is that he plays our event and is then ready to defend at the U.S. Open (June 18-21 at Bethpage Black in Farmington, N.Y.)," Memorial tournament director Dan Sullivan said. "He's coming back slowly, slower than a lot of people probably thought."

Woods, who along with defending-champion Kenny Perry are the only three-time Memorial winners, played every year from 1997-2005 but that streak ended when he missed the '06 tournament following the death of his father, Earl.

He won consecutive Memorial titles from 1999-2001, and he tied for 15th in his last appearance in 2007. Woods has strongly contended at three other Memorials, tying for fourth in 2003 and tying for third in '05 while also finishing alone in third place in '04.

He last played this season May 7-10 at THE PLAYERS Championship, where a final-round 1-over-par 73 dropped him from a tie for second to eighth. Much has been made of his lack of power off the tee since coming back from knee surgery, and for the first time in years at least one rival (Phil Mickelson) is within reach of knocking Woods from his perch atop the Official World Golf Rankings.

"I'll fix it," Woods said following THE PLAYERS Championship. "I've got plenty of time."

Several television announcers have said recently that the Memorial would be a likely place for Woods to play once more before the U.S. Open, but Sullivan said that wouldn't necessarily mean a rush on ticket-buying between a possible announcement and Monday's first day of practice rounds.

"We're fortunate in that we sell most of our tickets before tournament week," he said. "We don't have to rely on any one player, even Tiger. We'd love to have him, of course, but we always have star power."