The loyalists will say this means Tiger Woods is sure to resume his dominance. The haters will bemoan golf writers who, they insist, are fixated on a flawed man and past-his-prime player.
The realists fall somewhere in between.
Golf became a lot more compelling Sunday, whether you're a loyalist, hater or realist. Woods' first victory in more than two years made for great theater, as he outdueled Zach Johnson, one of the game's best wedge players and putters.
Woods' long-awaited victory actually is a bit deceiving, because the tournament had only 18 players in the field. That's not nearly the same as winning the Masters (90-plus players) or U.S. Open (156).
Still, the other 17 men included many of the world's top players. And now they have concrete evidence Woods can become a serious factor again in 2012 -- not because of his reshaped swing, but because of the clutch birdie putts he made to subdue Johnson.
It was laughable when people suggested Woods would never win again. He was the world's No. 1 player by a comically wide margin "forever," as Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples put it. Woods mostly needed just sound health and time to practice.
He will not dominate as he once did, because he soon will turn 36 (on Dec. 30) and there are many, many more good players on the PGA Tour than there were earlier in his career. Those players are not intimidated by Woods, because he has been oh-so-mortal the past few years.
But expect Woods to win three or four times in 2012, including a major. It would be surprising if he wins the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, because he often struggles on narrow, tree-lined layouts. It wouldn't be surprising at all if he won the Masters for the fifth time.
His next PGA Tour start could be at Pebble Beach in February. That tournament now seems a lot more intriguing.