Danny Willett put in a memorable performance in Augusta to clinch his first major by winning The Masters. The 29-year-old capitalised on Jordan Speith’s collapse on the final day to snatch the Green Jacket away from the American and join greats of the game that have triumphed on the famous course.
However, since then the Englishman has struggled to build on his success, failing to make an impact in the remaining slams of the year, while he also underperformed at the Olympics and the Ryder Cup. As a result, he will be desperate to bounce back next year and regain his form on the tour, aiming to add a second major to go with his Masters crown.
Willett will aim to become the first man since Tiger Woods in 2002 to win back-to-back titles at Augusta, but will face a challenge to achieve the feat, being backed by Betway at 40/1 to win the Green Jacket for the second year on the bounce.
The 29-year-old was on the periphery of the top 10 in the world rankings before his exploits at Augusta after a solid season in 2015, notably finishing in sixth place at The Open. Willett remained in the mix in the first three days of The Masters, although Speith appeared to be a lock to win the tournament for the second time due to his outstanding play.
The American held a three-shot advantage over Willett, but increased his lead over the rest of the field with a dominant display on the front nine, despite solid play from the Englishman, who had put himself in contention for a second-place finish. That all changed after the turn when Speith bogeyed the 10th and 11th before suffering a complete breakdown on the 12th, sending his ball into the water twice.
Willett seized the initiative showing great composure to sink several putts to close out his victory by three strokes to claim his first major. He initially built on his success with a fine performance at the BMW Championship, finishing narrowly behind winner Chris Wood by two strokes, raising expectations for the remaining slams of the season.
However, he endured a torrid time at the US Open, failing to compete for the crown with a nine-over display, while his struggles continued at The Open and the US PGA Championship where he was not able to place inside the top 50. Despite his issues, the 29-year-old was still selected to compete for Great Britain & Northern Ireland at the Olympics, but was simply a spectator to watch team-mate Justin Rose drive towards success, winning the gold medal, while Willett finished in 37th place.
The Englishman found a semblance of form at the European Masters and especially at the Italian Open, where he placed in second on 21-under for the tournament only one stroke behind winner Francesco Molinari.
Willett earned selection for the Ryder Cup due to his performances on the tour throughout the year, but life was made tough for him by his brother, whose tweets during The Masters brought him to the attention of the public. He penned an article before the Ryder Cup, slamming American golf fans, putting the spotlight on Willett in Minnesota throughout the week.
The 29-year-old was not selected for the first round of the day, but when he eventually took to the course he struggled immensely, failing to win a single point in his three matches in Europe’s heavy defeat. Since then his performances have dipped alarmingly, including a tied-143rd place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
However, he could still end the year on the a high with a victory on the European Tour in the Race to Dubai and finish 2016 as the continent’s number one player. He certainly has the ability and skill to pull off the feat, but more importantly he may have to correct his mental state that was so composed during his final round at Augusta. Should he rally, Willett is more than capable of winning the Green Jacket for a second time to prove his doubters in America wrong at The Masters.
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