Danny Willett

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Danny Willett
Danny Willet.JPG
Willett in 2009
Personal information
Full nameDaniel John Willett
Born (1987-10-03) 3 October 1987 (age 32)
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight83 kg (183 lb; 13.1 st)
Nationality England
ResidenceRotherham, Yorkshire, England
Spouse
Nicole Harris (m. 2013)
Children2
Career
CollegeJacksonville State University
Turned professional2008
Current tour(s)European Tour
PGA Tour
Professional wins7
Highest ranking9 (10 April 2016)[1]
(as of 15 December 2019)
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour1
European Tour7
Asian Tour1
Sunshine Tour1
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters TournamentWon: 2016
PGA ChampionshipT30: 2014
U.S. OpenT12: 2019
The Open ChampionshipT6: 2015, 2019

Daniel John Willett (born 3 October 1987) is an English professional golfer who plays on the European Tour. In April 2016, he won his first major championship at the 2016 Masters Tournament, becoming only the second Englishman to achieve the feat and the first European in 17 years to win at Augusta National.

Early life[edit]

Willett was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, one of four brothers. His father, Steve, was a Church of England vicar and his mother, Swedish-born Elisabet, was a maths teacher. Willett used to practise his golf in a sheep pasture; interviewed by The Daily Telegraph in 2016 he said, "We used to go to Anglesey to play a par three course in the middle of a sheep field."[2]

Amateur career[edit]

As an amateur, he won the English Amateur Championship in 2007 and competed in the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down. In March 2008 he became the number one ranked amateur in the world.

Willett secured a golf scholarship at Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Alabama. During his time with JSU, he was the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and won medallist honours at the 2007 OVC Championship. He was a first-team All-OVC performer and a member of the OVC's All-Tournament Team in both seasons.

Professional career[edit]

2008–15[edit]

Willett turned professional in May 2008, and earned his European Tour card for the 2009 season coming through qualifying school. Following a successful 2009, finishing 58th in the inaugural Race to Dubai with eight top-10s, Willett challenged at the 2010 BMW PGA Championship, taking the first-round lead before falling off the pace and finishing outright fifth, winning 190,800 euros. Following this performance, Willett moved into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time. He finished the 2010 season ranked 23rd on the Order of Merit.

2011 proved to be a less successful season, with only one top ten placement in 30 competitions; he still managed to retain his tour membership comfortably with a final 91st place in the Order of Merit.

Willett's first victory on the European Tour came in June 2012 at the BMW International Open in Cologne. He defeated Marcus Fraser on the fourth extra hole of a sudden death play-off.[3] In the same season he collected a second place at the Omega European Masters, a third place at the Maybank Malaysian Open and three additional top-ten finishes, that gave him the 23rd position at the final Order of Merit.

In 2013 and 2014 Willett established himself as one of the leading European players in the European Tour and in 2015 alone he collected seven top-ten finishes, and ended the year in 25th place in The Race to Dubai.

In December 2014 Willett won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa and, with a third place at the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play in May 2015, he earned a special temporary membership on the PGA Tour for the remainder of the 2015 season.[4]

Through 36 holes at the 2015 Open Championship, Willett was one stroke off the lead of Dustin Johnson and was paired with him in the final group for the third round of the Championship. He only could muster an even-par 72 in the third round, however, and dropped down the leaderboard. A final round 70, moved him into a tie for sixth at the Old Course at St Andrews, his best finish in a major to that point.

In July 2015, Willett won his third European Tour title with a one-stroke victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick at the Omega European Masters. Though he earned enough to qualify for a PGA Tour card, Willett declined to take PGA Tour membership for the 2015–16 season.[5]

2016: Masters victory[edit]

Willett won his first major championship at the 2016 Masters Tournament at Augusta National after shooting a five-under-par round of 67 to take advantage of a collapse by Jordan Spieth.[6] Defending champion Spieth led by five shots as he approached the 10th hole of the final round. Willett took the lead when Spieth, who was leading by 1 shot from Willett, had a quadruple bogey 7 at the par-3 12th. Willett was the leader in the clubhouse at −5 when he posted a bogey-free final round of 67 and was crowned champion when Spieth finished at −2 alongside Lee Westwood. Willett became the first British player to win the Masters for 20 years, Nick Faldo having won in 1996. After being presented with the green jacket as champion, Willett said: "It was a very surreal day when you look back at the ebbs and flows."[7] After his win, Willett accepted PGA Tour membership and rose to the 9th place of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Beside the first major win at the Masters, 2016 proved to be the most successful season for Willett. He collected his fourth win on the European Tour in February at the Dubai Desert Classic, and had a 2nd place at the 2016 Italian Open and a 3rd place at the BMW PGA Championship, establishing himself early in the season as leader of the Race to Dubai. With his position he also earned the automatic selection for the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Willett's Ryder Cup debut started with a controversy stirred by his brother Peter Willett on a National Club Golfer article stating that "for the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way";[8] Danny Willett successively distanced himself and apologised for his brother's comments,[9] although he later defended his brother's comments as correct after the competition had completed.[10] In the event, he played three matches without earning a point. In the Friday afternoon fourballs he teamed up with Martin Kaymer, losing by 5 and 4 to Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, on Saturday, he paired with Lee Westwood against J. B. Holmes and Ryan Moore in a 1 up loss in the fourballs; in the Sunday singles he lost again, by 5 and 4, to Koepka.

2017[edit]

Seeking his first victory since his Masters win, Willett entered the final round of the 2017 Maybank Championship in Malaysia, with a three-stroke advantage over the field. In the final round, he was the only player in top 29 positions to shoot over par and finished in a tie for fifth, four strokes behind eventual winner, Fabrizio Zanotti.

In defence of his Masters title, Willett shot opening rounds of 73 and 78 for a total of seven-over-par. He missed the cut by one stroke, becoming the first defending champion to do so since Mike Weir in 2004.[11]

Willett struggled with a back injury throughout the season, withdrawing from three tournaments,[11] and ultimately lost his PGA Tour privileges having failed to make the required fifteen starts.[12]

2018[edit]

Willett began the 2018 season with nine missed cuts and a withdrawal in his first twelve tournaments. After the 2018 BMW PGA Championship, Willett fell to 462nd in the Official World Golf Ranking. However, his play improved in the second half of the season. This culminated in a victory at the 2018 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai on 18 November 2018. The victory was part of the Rolex Series and worth $1,333,330.[13][14]

2019[edit]

On 22 September 2019, Willett won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in England. This win at the European Tour's flagship event brought Willett back into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Willett married Nicole Harris in 2013.[16] They reside in Rotherham, Yorkshire. Their first child, a son, was born in 2016, just a few days before his victory at the 2016 Masters. [17] Their second child was born in 2018. Willett has described his father, Steve, as the best sports psychologist he has known.[18] Willett is a supporter of Premier League club Liverpool.[19] One of his older brothers is a teacher.[20]

Willett is a member of Lindrick Golf Club.[21]

Amateur wins (4)[edit]

Professional wins (7)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (1)[edit]

Legend
Major championships (1)
Other PGA Tour events (0)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runners-up
1 10 Apr 2016 Masters Tournament 70-74-72-67=283 −5 3 strokes United States Jordan Spieth, England Lee Westwood

European Tour wins (7)[edit]

Legend
Major championships (1)
Tour Championship (1)
BMW PGA Championship (1)
Rolex Series (2)
Other European Tour events (4)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 24 Jun 2012 BMW International Open 65-70-69-73=277 −11 Playoff Australia Marcus Fraser
2 7 Dec 2014
(2015 season)
Nedbank Golf Challenge1 71-68-65-66=270 −18 4 strokes England Ross Fisher
3 26 Jul 2015 Omega European Masters2 65-62-71-65=263 −17 1 stroke England Matthew Fitzpatrick
4 7 Feb 2016 Omega Dubai Desert Classic 70-65-65-69=269 −19 1 stroke Spain Rafa Cabrera-Bello, England Andy Sullivan
5 10 Apr 2016 Masters Tournament 70-74-72-67=283 −5 3 strokes United States Jordan Spieth, England Lee Westwood
6 18 Nov 2018 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai 67-67-68-68=270 −18 2 strokes United States Patrick Reed, England Matt Wallace
7 22 Sep 2019 BMW PGA Championship 68-65-68-67=268 −20 3 strokes Spain Jon Rahm

1Co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour
2Co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour

European Tour playoff record (1–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 2012 BMW International Open Australia Marcus Fraser Won with par on fourth extra hole

Major championships[edit]

Wins (1)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runners-up
2016 Masters Tournament 3 shot deficit –5 (70-74-72-67=283) 3 strokes United States Jordan Spieth, England Lee Westwood

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Masters Tournament T38 1 CUT CUT
U.S. Open T45 CUT T37 WD CUT
The Open Championship CUT T15 CUT T6 T53 76 T24
PGA Championship CUT T40 T30 T54 T79 CUT CUT
Tournament 2019
Masters Tournament CUT
PGA Championship T41
U.S. Open T12
The Open Championship T6
  Win
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
WD = withdrew
"T" = tied

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 1 0 0 1 1 1 5 2
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 5
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 3
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 2 4 8 6
Totals 1 0 0 1 3 6 27 16
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 6 (2015 Open Championship – 2016 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (three times, current)

Results in World Golf Championships[edit]

Results not in chronological order prior to 2015.

Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Mexico Championship T12 T3 69 T27
Match Play 3 T28 T39
FedEx St. Jude Invitational T50 T17 76 T48
HSBC Champions T67 T62 T3 75 T73
  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = tied

Team appearances[edit]

Amateur

Professional

Ryder Cup points record

2016 Total
0 0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Week 15 2016 Ending 10 Apr 2016" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Danny Willett wins Masters 2016: All you need to know about England's Augusta champion". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Danny Willett secures first European Tour victory in Cologne". BBC Sport. 24 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  4. ^ Hoggard, Rex (3 May 2015). "Willett earns special temporary status with consolation match win". Golf Channel. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  5. ^ Lavner, Ryan (1 October 2015). "Willett turns down 2015-16 PGA Tour card". Golf Channel.
  6. ^ Ritchie, Bryce (10 April 2016). "Danny Willett - 'It's mind-boggling'". bunkered.
  7. ^ Jurejko, Jonathan (11 April 2016). "Masters 2016: Danny Willett pips Jordan Spieth to Green Jacket at Augusta". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Pete Willett: I ain't partisan, he's my brother." National Club Golfer. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Ryder Cup 2016: Danny Willett apologizes for brother's US fans rant". CNN. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Ryder Cup 2016: Danny Willett defends brother's comments". BBC Sport. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  11. ^ a b Shanahan, Katie (25 July 2017). "Danny Willett would consider surgery to solve injury". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  12. ^ Corrigan, James (12 August 2017). "Danny Willett to lose PGA Tour card but wants to revive his game back in Europe". The Telegraph.
  13. ^ "Danny Willett". OWGR. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  14. ^ "2018 DP World Tour Championship Dubai purse, winner's share, prize money payout". Golf News Net. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  15. ^ Murray, Ewan (22 September 2019). "Danny Willett enjoying his golf again as he claims PGA Championship". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Nicole Willett PGA Danny Willett's Wife". FabWags. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  17. ^ Ferguson, Doug (10 April 2016). "Willett wins the Masters after shocking Spieth collapse". Vancouver Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Danny Willett wins Masters 2016: All you need to know about England's Augusta champion". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  19. ^ Prentice, David (11 April 2016). "US Masters champion Danny Willett is a Liverpool fan". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  20. ^ Malkin, Bonnie (11 April 2016). "Danny Willett's brother steals spotlight on Twitter after Masters 2016 victory". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Danny delivers the Jacket". 15 April 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.

External links[edit]