Danny the champion: Masters talking points

Danny's flawless round, Jordan's nightmare half hour, another near miss for Westwood

Danny Willett Masters champion
Danny Willett Masters champion
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Danny Willett's flawless round, Jordan’s nightmare half hour, another near miss for Westwood and reasons for English golf fans to be cheerful; talking points from the 2016 Masters.

Danny Willett started the final round three shots behind defending champion Jordan Spieth, and that deficit had grown to five as the leading players entered Augusta’s famous back nine.

Spieth looked certain to win a third Major title but, uncharacteristically, the youngster's game unravelled in the space of three holes. After dropping shots at the tough 10th and the 11th holes, Spieth stood on the tee of the par-3 12th still with the advantage. But there he followed a poor tee shot into the water with a duffed third that barely made the hazard. His fifth went over the green into sand and he did well to get up-and-down and record a quadruple bogey seven.

Meanwhile Willett was making steady progress – bogey free on the day, he then made his move with birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes. He kept his composure and made a brilliant up-and-down on the 17th and then a solid par on the last.

After posting a total of five-under-par, a thrilled Willett had to wait to see if Spieth could bounce back. The World Number 2 had made birdies at the 13th and 15th holes to give himself a chance but a dropped shot on the 17th ended his hopes and he finished three back. Danny was the champion.

“It’s been crazy, you just can’t describe the emotions,” he said. “It’s been a surreal day with all the ebbs and flows. We were just fortunate that we hit the shots at the correct times and we holed a few putts when we needed to.”

4 Talking points from the U.S. Masters

1 – Danny Willett claimed his first Major title and has climbed into the top-10 on the Official World Golf Ranking. The Englishman very nearly didn’t play in this year’s Masters as his wife had been expecting a baby that was due during the week of the tournament. But little Zachariah arrived early and Danny decided to make the journey to Georgia. On the day of his wife Nicole’s birthday and with thoughts of his newborn son, it was an emotional victory for the man from Sheffield. “You talk about fate, you talk about everything else that goes with it. It’s just been a crazy, crazy week,” he said.

Danny Willett swing sequence:

2 – Jordan Spieth was clearly shocked by his back nine meltdown. The 2015 Masters champion seemed in full control of the tournament when he made four straight birdies at the end of the back nine, but mistakes at the 10th and 11th were compounded by what happened at the 12th. Once again, the short par-3 proved to be pivotal in deciding the tournament. The tee shot was poor, but it was the third shot that was really surprising. Usually so accurate at pitching, he completely duffed his first effort from the drop zone, so much so that it only just made it into Rae’s Creek. Spieth will surely bounce back from the meltdown, but it’s bound to leave mental scarring. "It was a very tough 30 minutes that hopefully I don’t experience again,” he said.

Podcast: Golf Monthly 2016 Masters Review

3 – It was another near-miss in a Major for Lee Westwood. Starting the day four shots back, he made his job even more difficult by bogeying the first hole. Birdies at the 6th, 7th and 9th kept faint hopes alive though and after Jordan’s implosion, he gave himself a real chance with a chip-in eagle on the 13th. At that stage he was just one shot off the lead. But he dropped a shot at the 16th as playing partner Willett picked one up. The 44-year-old parred the last two to come up just short. It was his ninth top-three finish in a Major and his fifth top-10 at Augusta since 2010.

4 – It was a great week for English golf with five players finishing in the top-10. Willett took a fabulous victory and Westwood claimed a share of second. Paul Casey closed with a 67 to climb into a tie for fourth while young Matthew Fitzpatrick, playing his first Masters as a professional, posted the same number to claim a share of seventh. Justin Rose ended the week in a tie for 10th. Add Rory McIlroy (tied 10th) into the mix and that made six British golfers in the top-10.

U.S. Masters Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia April 7-10 Purse €8,700,000, par 72

1    Danny Willett (Eng)    70    74    72    67    283    €1,573,839 T2    Jordan Spieth (USA)    66    74    73    73    286    €769,433 T2    Lee Westwood (Eng)    71    75    71    69    286    €769,433 T4    Paul Casey (Eng)        69    77    74    67    287    €361,400 T4    J.B. Holmes (USA)    72    73    74    68    287    €361,400 T4    Dustin Johnson (USA)    73    71    72    71    287    €361,400 T7    Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71    76    74    67    288    €272,508 T7    Soren Kjeldsen (Den)    69    74    74    71    288    €272,508 T7    Hideki Matsuyama (Jap) 71    72    72    73    288    €272,508 T10    Daniel Berger (USA)    73    71    74    71    289    €201,102 T10    Jason Day (Aus)        72    73    71    73    289    €201,102 T10    Rory McIlroy (NIR)    70    71    77    71    289    €201,102 T10    Justin Rose (Eng)        69    77    73    70    289    €201,102 T10    Brandt Snedeker (USA)    71    72    74    72    289    €201,102

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?