Tiger Woods Has Hattiesburg, Miss., Residents Talking

02/04/2010 at 04:00 PM EST

Tiger Woods Has Hattiesburg, Miss., Residents Talking
Tiger Woods
Jennifer Mitchell/Splash News Online

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

For folks in Hattiesburg, Miss., believing that Tiger Woods is in the town's Gentle Path sex rehab clinic is a bit like believing in Santa Claus. No one has actually seen him, but still, people have blind faith that he's there.

"I know people that know people that work there that said he was actually there, so I do believe [it]," says one resident who works in a retail shop.

But now, rumors are circulating in the news and through the town that the pro golfer might be leaving as early as later this week – or has already left.

"I heard [Tiger's wife] Elin flew to Hattiesburg and picked him up, and then they're going away for a few days before they sign anything," says local delivery person. "She's holding off on the divorce."

Still, security remains tight at Gentle Path, so a local business owner thinks Woods is still in treatment: "They [are] circling and doing what they do in tinted windows. They're doing what they can do to keep it under cover."

Only time will tell if Woods, elusive since he crashed his car outside his Orlando, Fla., home after a Thanksgiving fight with his wife, will emerge from Gentle Path and say farewell to Hattiesburg.

If he does, some wish him well. "If celebrities have issues and they know they've got issues, and he's trying to get fixed, then I'm proud of him," says a townsman.

Others have something they say is far more pressing on their minds: Sunday's Super Bowl where the town's favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, will meet the Indianapolis Colts. Then there are those happy to see him – and the snooping media – head out of town.

"Now I can actually drive down that road," says the delivery person of the road near Gentle Path. "There's a really awesome Thai place I haven't been able to get to in weeks."

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