Arjun Atwal and Tiger Woods are more than just frequent practice buddies at Isleworth — surprise! — but they frequently exchange text messages, too. Since Arjun kicked off the Wyndham Championship with a 9-under on Thursday, Tiger has been sending him messages of encouragement, like, “Well done, bud.”
Q. How aware were you of like what was going on with the leaderboard? Things got fairly crazy.
ARJUN ATWAL: It just kept changing. Lucas was up there when I was playing the front-9. Then I thought I saw Justin Leonard’s name up there, then David Toms, then somebody else. I’m like, everybody is tied for the lead at a certain point.
I figured — my goal was to get it to 21[-under] today, you know, because I knew guys were going to shoot low today. I came up one short but — actually that’s the number that my friend, Tiger Woods, told me to get to as well last night. I was really trying to get to that.
Q. Did you talk to him or was that a text?
ARJUN ATWAL: Text. It’s all texts. We never talk.
Q. Why not?
ARJUN ATWAL: He’s just busy, I guess.
Well, somewhere Tiger was smiling proudly of his friend on Sunday evening — even though Arjun never got it to 21-under. Maybe Arjun’s triumph even warranted a rare phone call/voicemail from his friend. After all, Arjun’s won more tournaments than Tiger this season. Imagine that! Now he’s known for more than just being Tiger’s lapdog practice pal or his involvement in a fatal car accident (he was cleared of charges after a police investigation), he’s the first Indian-born player to win on tour and the first Monday qualifier in 24 years.