News & ToursDecember 21, 2014

Tiger Woods celebrating another win...vicariously

Arjun Atwal is an otherwise relatively obscure tour professional whose profile has been raised considerably by his friendship with Tiger Woods.

So it was that Atwal, an Indian native, won the inaugural Dubai Open Sunday after receiving encouragement via a text from Woods.

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Atwal, Woods during Players Championship practice round in 2012 (Getty Images)

"We've become really close," Atwal told the Gulf News. "What with him going through his stuff and me struggling the last couple of years, we've been there for each other.

"There's very few friends in the world that will be there for you when you need them the most, and he's one of them. And I'm there for him as well.

"Going through his two years of struggle, he's always been nothing but positive. I've spent some time with him, and he's always guided me on the right way I should go with my game or my health, and how to go about rehabbing.

"In fact he texted me this morning and told me, Shoot two under a side. Shoot 68 and you should be good.' He was wrong."

Atwal, in fact, needed a 72nd-hole birdie to complete a final-round 66 to win by one over Jeung-hun Wang in the Asian Tour event. It was his first victory since winning the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in 2010. He has not played the PGA Tour full time since 2012.

Atwal, 41, and Woods were once neighbors in the Isleworth community near Orlando. On occasions when they're entered in the same tournament, they play practice rounds, together.

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