(Reuters) – American Bryson DeChambeau got a note of encouragement from Tiger Woods ahead of his nail-biter victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational tournament in Orlando, Florida, with the 15-time major winner texting him hours before the final round.
The reigning U.S. Open champion, who was one stroke back from the lead heading into Sunday’s action, started the day with a bogey at Bay Hill Club & Lodge but recovered quickly, claiming his second of two birdies on six courtesy of a monster 377-yard drive.
DeChambeau (71) let out a roar after holding on for par on the final hole to defeat England’s Lee Westwood (73) by one stroke and was near tears reflecting on the significance of winning golf legend Palmer’s eponymous tournament, which Woods has won eight times.
“I got a text from Tiger this morning … We just talked about ‘just keep fighting, no matter what happens’ and play boldly like Mr. Palmer,” DeChambeau said in a televised interview.
Woods suffered a fractured right leg and a shattered ankle after a car accident last month, stunning the golf world and calling into question the future of the 45-year-old’s career.
“My heart has been heavy with Tiger and what’s been going on with him and I just kept telling myself, ‘It’s not how many times you get kicked down, it’s about how many times you get picked back up and you keep going,'” said DeChambeau. “And that’s what I surely did out there today.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin)