Tiger Woods: Why His Latest Victory Will Lead to More Wins in 2012

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Tiger Woods: Why His Latest Victory Will Lead to More Wins in 2012
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods had to wait two years between victories, but he's finally back in the winner's circle.

Tiger birdied the final two holes to outlast Zach Johnson by one stroke en route to winning the 2011 Chevron World Challenge, a tournament hosted by his own foundation.

It was classic Tiger Woods at a time when it looked like he might fail to "seal the deal" with clutch putting the way we have known him to do in the past. It looked like it might be a repeat of last year's Chevron World Challenge, when Tiger went toe-to-toe with Graham McDowell down the stretch, only to fail to match McDowell's birdie on the first playoff hole.

But after 749 days of anticipation—complete with personal problems, injuries and seemingly endless swing changes—Tiger Woods finally prevailed.

Tiger's back. Tiger's not back.

The argument has been ongoing since he finished in third place at the Australian Open a few weeks ago.

Then there was his tournament clinching 4 and 3 singles match victory over Aaron Baddeley to win the President's Cup for the United States team two weeks ago.

But regardless of whether Tiger is "back" or not, the way he played on the final two holes this afternoon at Sherwood Country Club will go a long way in not only shaping public perception about his chances in 2012, but also Tiger's perception of his own game.

I like his chances.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Tiger Woods Wins 2011 Chevron World Challenge

Tiger by no means had his A-game in shooting a two-under-par 69 today. But his play, when it absolutely mattered the most, earned him his first victory in two years. And that speaks volumes. Because when Tiger does find every aspect of his game at the same time, it's possible he could return to the dominating form that has allowed him to win 71 PGA Tour events and 14 major championships.

Outside of Johnson, Tiger finished five shots ahead of a star-studded field that included some of the best players in the world, including Steve Stricker, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, K.J. Choi, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan.

Tiger Woods is healthy. He's implemented the swing changes he deemed necessary for his future success. And he's comfortable with those changes.

Now armed with his latest victory, he will roll into the 2012 PGA Tour season with perhaps as much confidence as he has ever had.

That's very good news for Tiger Woods. And bad news for his competition.

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