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Devil Ball Golf

Ten ways of looking at Tiger Woods’ Chevron Challenge victory

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

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Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods won his first tournament in more than two years on Sunday, and there are plenty of ways to view his victory at the Chevron World Challenge. Let's run down the possibilities, shall we?

1. It means nothing because it came in an 18-man tournament. Let's be honest, Woods didn't exactly throttle the entire golf world at the Chevron. Sure, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan were there, as were wunderkind players like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, but there was no Rory McIlroy, no Lee Westwood, no Luke Donald. The highest-ranked player at the tournament was No. 6 Steve Stricker. Not the most dominating field, right?

2. It means everything because winning is winning. On the other hand, Woods has been without victory for so long that even this relatively nondescript win will do wonders for his confidence. He's got the taste of blood again.

3. It will throw the fear of God back into the competition. Zach Johnson's face said it all: The days of expecting Woods to fold are over. Johnson was the first victim of the new Tiger, but odds are he won't be the last.

4. It means Tiger's back on Jack's trail. Does this mean that Woods could seriously threaten Jack Nicklaus' fabled 18-major record? That's getting way, way ahead of ourselves. But you've got to be able to win somewhere before you can win anywhere.

5. It's a nice story, but nothing more. Of course, if Woods doesn't follow this with some strong performances early in 2012 -- he's next slated to play in Abu Dhabi in January -- this will be about as valuable to Woods as a Little League participation trophy. He's got to bring this game to a bigger stage. And he's got to find a way to give the thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of fans who turned away from him in disgust a reason to cheer for him again.

[Related: World No. 1 Luke Donald dares to call Rory McIlroy more talented than Tiger Woods]

6. It means there'll be no more talk of "the streak." Woods' long-running winless streak was the subtext of every single tournament in which he played post-hydrant. There were those who said he'd never win again. Those people have been proven wrong. Next up: those who say he can't win a full-field tournament. And from there, those who say he'll never win another major ...

7. It means the Tiger Tour is back in full force. The scene on the Friday of the PGA Championship was a pathetic one. Woods was stumbling to a miserable missed cut, and his gallery had shrunk to well below those of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Woods, it seemed, wasn't quite the draw he'd been in the years before. But now? Now, Woods is going to dominate the coverage and the galleries at every event in which he plays. Like it or not.

8. It means the Youth Movement will have to wait a little longer. We'd expected this to be the dawning of a new age, a time of McIlroy and Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson. And that still could happen, and next year. But it's clear Woods isn't quite ready to give up the stage.

9. It's a victory for the Sean Foley swing change. Many thought Woods was in trouble when former swing coach Hank Haney cut ties with Woods, leading Woods to sign with Foley at such a critical time in his career. Foley's lessons are taking hold, though, and Woods is looking more comfortable on a golf course than he has in years ... with some exceptions, of course.

10. It makes 2012 that much more interesting. I think we can all agree on this one, yes?

-Follow Devil Ball Golf at @DevilBallGolf and Facebook. Follow Jay Busbee at @jaybusbee and on Facebook here.-

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