Dubai: Arjun Atwal credited his close friend Tiger Woods with his comeback win in the inaugural Dubai Open on Sunday.

The Asian Tour’s season-ender at The Els Club was Atwal’s first career win since 2010 when he won the Wyndham Championship on the US PGA Tour. But since then he has suffered from a debilitating back injury for the past two years that had almost forced him to quit the game.

On the sidelines of his emotional comeback he credited 14-time Major winning Woods.

“We’ve become really close,” he said. “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 [Sunday] morning and told me: ‘Shoot two under a side; shoot 68 and you should be good,’ he was wrong,” joked Atwal, who needed to card 66 to beat South Korea’s Wang Jeung-hun by a stroke at 16 under par for the tournament. “He’s always encouraging me and we’re really close friends.”