It was a heroic effort by Lee Westwood, as he tried to become oldest ever UK winner on the PGA Tour. But ultimately the evergreen 47-year-old was left to rue a short missed putt on the 16th to lose the Arnold Palmer Invitational to Bryson DeChambeau.
Motivated by a text message from a Tiger Woods, the 27-year-old, came through. The reigning US Open champion was forced to hole a six-footer on the last at Bay Hill to prevail by one from the brave Englishman.
It was a difficult afternoon in Orlando, with winds gusting and the greens crisping up. DeChambeau, that revolutionary character, was again showing he has the guile as well as the length. “I spoke to Tiger yesterday and we talked about just keep fighting no matter what happens and play boldly like Mr Palmer,” he said.
Whatever else the Orlando spectacular was going to be remembered for, it was certain that the audacious antics on the par-five sixth will never be forgotten. Twice he tried to drive the green on the 555-yarder and twice he put his arms up in triumph, in the manner of a “He Man” Jack Nicklaus.
DeChambeau failed to reach the putting surface on both occasion, but credit to the American for having a go. Of course, DeChambeau is not actually able to hit it 500-yard plus (that will probably be his aim in 2025), but with the dogleg across the water it is “only” a 352-yard strike.
As was the case on Saturday, DeChambeau certainly had the length but, in another lesson for macho golfers everywhere, he once again proved that size is not everything by clearing the lake, but on the wrong line and into the rough.
Nevertheless, these were more box office moments from the American who, Woods apart, can arguably claim to be the most intriguing player in the sport.
DeChambeau’s celebration during the third round was a sight to witness. It was far more animated than his greeting for his breakthrough major victory in last year’s US Open and maybe gave a portal into what turns on this revolutionary. The world No 10 said in the build-up that he could find the dance floor, rather than the conventional path on the right-to-left dogleg.
"I felt like a kid again, for sure. It was exciting," DeChambeau said. "Especially when you pull it off. It was almost like winning a tournament. I got the same chills and feeling when I saw it clear and there was no splash. I gave the fans what they wanted."
As he does, DeChambeau then made a grand prediction: ”If it's downwind pumping pretty good [on Sunday] and the pin's in a good location to do that I can definitely see myself going for the green or even closer to the green, trying to hit it in that greenside bunker,” he said.
The conditions were just as he said, but it is clearly not as simple as that. This time he hit it 377 yards and the arm was raised. Westwood took the traditional route, belting the drive but with the angle, finding himself 170 yards further back than DeChambeau. Westwood held his arms aloft. Classic, Lee. They both made a birdie four.
It was to and fro from here and Westwood had the chance to draw level with a four-footer for birdie on the 16th. Westwood looks booked in now for the Ryder Cup. Maybe he will play with DeChambeau in the singles.