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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 12/05/2011

Tiger Woods: Does this win mean he’s back?



Tiger Woods said he wasn’t sure if he was feeling relief after winning, but he sure looked as if he was feeling relief after winning. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)
Tiger Woods finally won a tournament (even if it was only his 18-player invitational) after 749 days, leaving two very important issues: Is he really back and ... this “mashed potatoes!” thing is not going away.

First, let’s address the food factor.

In early October, a fan chucked a hot dog at him during the Frys.com Open, which was bad enough. On Sunday, while most fans went with the traditional “get in the hole” cry of idiocy, one guy went with “mashed potatoes!” as Woods teed off on 18. Sadly, this is a trend that just is not going to go away and if Woods is, indeed, back, it’s going to get old pretty quickly. It already has happened a number of times, with quite the video library building (here, here, and here with a H/T to Mentality and Deadspin).

Answers for the larger question of whether Woods is back and can build on the win won’t become clearer until he plays again — and he isn’t scheduled to do that until the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in late January.

“Last year I played with him here the first round and thought, ‘Wow, this guy is back,’ ” Steve Stricker said. “But you could tell this time around he's even got more confidence and more game and he feels confidence in the direction he is headed in.”

And what does Woods think?

“In order for me to play the way I know I can play, I had to get fully fit. I had to get healthy to where I was strong and explosive again so I could practise. It basically starts with that. I was finally able to practice, then my practice sessions started building and building and building. I felt very good about my game. I got better each and every tournament. I feel pretty good going into next year.”

By  |  11:30 AM ET, 12/05/2011

 
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