ORLANDO, Fla. — The final pairing of Sunday’s Arnold Palmer Invitational represented the epitome of old school (Lee Westwood) versus new school (Bryson DeChambeau).
DeChambeau was grinding on the practice range well past when darkness set in on Saturday night. Westwood was likely enjoying a relaxing glass of wine or three with his girlfriend, Helen Storey, who’s also his caddie.
The 47-year-old Westwood represented perhaps the most dangerous opponent of all for DeChambeau in that he’s so at peace with his place in the game that it’s like he almost doesn’t care if he wins again or what his legacy will be if he doesn’t.
Westwood’s carefree demeanor on the golf course is what we all strive for — professionals and amateurs alike — and most of us can never truly find. Because we all care too much. We care about the result, the score.
DeChambeau comes off as a guy who cares more than anyone based on his relentless work to improve himself and his equipment.
When the tournament was over Sunday and DeChambeau had outlasted Westwood, winning by one shot, even Westwood walked away impressed at what he’d witnessed.
“It’s great to watch,’’ Westwoood said. “You can see the shape of him; he’s worked hard in the gym and he’s worked on his technique to hit it a long way and it’s not easy to hit it that straight as he hits it as far as he hits it. He can overpower a golf course.’’
Westwood’s guile nearly overcame DeChambeau’s power, though, which impressed the winner.
“Lee Westwood almost won today,’’ DeChambeau said. “He played amazing golf. I was fortunate enough to just have a couple things go my way. Lee played unbelievable golf today.’’
Said Westwood, who was trying to win on the PGA Tour for the first time in more than a decade: “I thought we had a really good battle. It was never really more than one [shot difference] all day and there were tough conditions out there.’’
One thing Westwood was determined not to do was try to keep up with DeChambeau.
“When you’re playing with Bryson, when I’m playing with him, I’m not going to go out there and go blow for blow with him,’’ Westwood said. “Some people can do that and will do that. But that’s the way for me to play myself out of a tournament.’’
Kristoffer Ventura, a 26-year-old from Mexico, had a hole-in-one on the 201-yard par-3 14th hole on Sunday with a 6-iron. It was the second ace on that hole in two days, with Jazz Janewattananond accomplishing the rare feat on Saturday.
“I hit a great shot and it just happened to go in,’’ Ventura said. “It took awhile for the ball to go in and then when the crowd went crazy that’s when we knew. It’s my first one ever in a tournament. So, it was pretty cool.’’