Woods has won 11 majors since his Pebble Beach triumph 10 years ago
Tiger Woods endured another testing day to leave himself a long way off the pace after his second round in the 110th US Open at Pebble Beach.
The world number one added a one-over 72 to his opening 74 to slide to four over par in the year's second major.
Woods, who won the first of his three US Opens by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach 10 years ago, made the cut by three shots but is seven off the lead.
"I just need to keep progressing and moving my way up the board," he said.
The 34-year-old, who won the last of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US Open, added: "It's a long haul. The US Open is not going to get easier as the week goes on, especially on the weekend.
"I'm right there in the championship. I just need to make a few more birdies, a few more putts on the weekend, and I'll be right there."
The American described the greens as "bouncy" and "awful" following his first round but finally made his first birdie of the tournament with a chip-in on the 11th after starting from the 10th.
He made another birdie on the par-five 14th after spinning his approach back to six feet but dropped shots on both par threes on the back nine, missing the green on the 12th and the 17th.
On the second, Woods drove into a fairway bunker on his way to a bogey, before he hooked a three wood off the tee on the third and had to take a drop as he leaked another shot.
He picked up his third birdie of the day with a deft tee shot to eight feet on the short seventh before ending with two pars.
At seven shots adrift of leader Graeme McDowell, Woods would have to make his biggest comeback after 36 holes at a major championship to seal victory on Sunday. At the 2005 Masters, he overcame a six-stroke deficit to beat fellow American Chris DiMarco in a play-off.
But Ernie Els, one of his playing partners alongside Lee Westwood for the first two rounds, was in no doubt that Woods was still in contention.
"A guy that's won 14 majors, he's got a lot of game," said the 1994 and 1997 US Open champion.
"I think he's very close. I haven't played with him in about a year. I think his ball-striking was pretty good the last two days and his short game is pretty sharp. He just didn't make enough putts. It's only a matter of time before he starts getting in his stride."
Woods, who spent five months out of the game following revelations of scandal in his private life last December, finished fourth in the Masters on his reappearance in April but missed the cut at the Quail Hollow Championship in May.
He withdrew during the Players Championship the following week with a neck injury and tied for 19th at the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament earlier this month. He also recently parted company with long-time swing coach Hank Haney.
Woods is chasing Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles but last won one of the year's four big events when he clinched the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines despite a severe knee injury for which he underwent surgery straight after and was out of the game for eight months.