First of all, the job is next to impossible to do without one of these...
Secondly, I don't know how you got that ring off without one of those tools!?! I know it is possible, but it'* HARD to do without the tool. And I realy don't think the ring can be put back on without that tool. Or at least I would never even try to because I'd be wasting my time, I KNOW I can't do it without the tool.
If you actually got the clip on in the lower groove and the ring below the clip, (which is where it needs to be) the only way I could imagine you did this was by removing the compression spring (thats the big heavy one).
If that is how you did it, then you need to put that spring back in. Without the spring the top steering column cage bearings will not have any pre-load on them. Without pre-load on the bearings they will slide off there seat and cause lots of play in the upper section of the column....but you will only see the play in the steering wheel as the rest of the loose shaft is covered by the column covers and column itself.
Let us know if this helps you out.
That tool may be available to rent...doesn't pep-boys or auto zone rent tools? Well if not, you can probably buy one at Napa for $20, maybe less?